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Blue Caprice (aka The Washington Snipers) review

Blue Caprice yellow light Tequan Richmond Isaiah Washington

Thoughtful performances and grim visual elegance aren’t enough to save this portrait of abuse and control twisted into banal evil from becoming too banal to have much bite.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I can’t get stop hearing the title of this film as an emotional descriptive, translating as something like “doleful whim.” I suppose it was intentional on the parts of director Alexandre Moors and screenwriter R.F.I. Porto, making their feature debuts here, spinning the make and model of an automobile into something metaphoric. The 2002 Washington DC snipers — the relationship between whom this meditative film aims to explore — actually did drive a blue Chevy Caprice while committing their random murders… which was surely too perfect a symbol to let pass. So it’s a shame the film doesn’t deliver on the depressive double entendre. It’s a familiar sort of dysfunction we see in the unlikely duo of John (Isaiah Washington: Hollywood Homicide), a paranoid man whose, well, capricious violence has brought a restraining order between him and his wife and kids, and Lee (Tequan Richmond), the 15-year-old boy abandoned by his mother and desperate for a male mentor whom John unofficially adopts. But Moors mistakes quietude for introspection, perhaps to make up for Porto’s disappointing lack of insight into how unhealthy male anger and isolation turns to terroristic homicide. Thoughtful performances — also including that by Tim Blake Nelson (As I Lay Dying) — and grim visual elegance aren’t enough to save this portrait of abuse and control twisted into banal evil from becoming too banal to have much bite.


If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.
US/Canada release date: Sep 13 2013 (VOD Sep 17 2013) | UK release date: direct to DVD

MPAA: rated R for disturbing violent content, language and brief drug use
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, violence)

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes
  • Kathy_A

    I just noticed that this is available On Demand through my cable, and I was really tempted to pay for a viewing based on the trailer that you posted her recently. After reading this review, I guess not. Too bad–the trailer looked really interesting.

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