The world has been through so much tragedy the past year involving gun violence. It seems every month there is some horrifying event involving violence with firearms, with just this past week a terrible massacre in a Kenya mall and a shooting at a Naval Base in Washington DC. So the release of Blue Caprice seems to be quite timely.
Opening at the Sundance film festival earlier this year, Blue Caprice is an attempt to show the mind of one who would cause these type of shootings. Making such a film like this is always a bit controversial and usually makes for a tough watch. Surprisingly though, this film is really going under the radar, with little media attention going to the film despite it being so notably similar to recent events. The fact that it is not getting more note is a shame, because Blue Caprice is a tragic and near-great film.
Following the events of the Beltway sniper attacks of the Mid-Atlantic, a lost boy named Lee finds refuge in a father figure John. Despite seemingly have direction in his life for the first time, Lee finds himself going down a dark path.
This film is a character piece at its heart, and it works as well as it does due to the performances. Isaiah Washington is an actor who has done a mixture of solid supporting roles in films like Out of Sight and television roles like Grey’s Anatomy, but here Washington really gets to shine as this demented father figure. At first glance, he looks like a sane person, which makes is inner insanity even scarier. Washington was perfectly able to capture the anger and ineptitude that this character has about his own life, and it’s really one of the year’s better performances.
Starring right along side him is Tequan Richmond, who mostly is known for a role in the show Everybody Hates Chris. Like Washington, Richmond really gets his first chance to shine in a film, playing as this broken and lost boy. Richmond captures a true fragility and awkwardness in Richmond, that gives you an understanding of why this boy would follow around this man.
Their dynamic together is nothing short of brilliant, and it’s the heart and soul of the film. Seeing this kid, just so desperate for any sort of affection and love, be attracted towards this man who shows such unconditional love towards him. It’s very haunting and emotionally affecting to see, mainly because these two actors are so damn good together in their respective roles.
The supporting cast also does a nice job. Actors Tim Blake Nelson, Cassandra Freeman, and Joey Lauren Adams all give solid performances in small roles, and are able to etch out interesting and well defined characters.
The direction in this film is great. First time director Alexandre Moors gives a memorable debut, as he really is able to guide this story in a great way. Moors is constrained and subtle about capturing the main character’s relationship, which makes it all the more meaningful. Moors is really now a director to watch, as this debut should make some waves among studios.
An element in the film that was very commendable was the depiction of the violence in the movie. Moors does a great job of not making the violence gratuitous; instead, he just gives us the aftermath and distressing 911 phone calls. Not showing this information makes these moments even more haunting and unforgettable. It’s constrained and respectful towards the victims of these incidents, while sharing how horrifying these events truly were.
The cinematography in Blue Caprice is some of the year’s best. Relatively unknown cinematographer Brian O’ Carroll makes a bit of a name for himself here, shooting this movie very well. Ranging from powerful close ups of an actor’s face , to beautiful shots of the nature, to impactful harrowing moments, O’Carroll truly does a fantastic job in his first major project.
This film does not have a lot of problems, which makes the few errors stand out. Blue Caprice takes a while to get going into its narrative. The film’s meandering nature works for the most part, but it seems that the first twenty minutes or so were just too stretched out, and could have been better executed. It just took a bit too long to really get into the meat and potatoes of the film, and this part could have easily been edited down.
The score in this movie was really bothersome for the most part. There is an interesting mixture here between classical and contemporary music, but the music really does not play well with the film. Unlike the quiet flow of the movie, the score is loud and even a bit obnoxious at parts, sometimes even taking me out of the moment due to how annoying it was. There are a few moments where the score fits nicely, but it largely does not.
It’s not perfect, but Blue Caprice is an impactful and harrowing tale that packs a big punch due to its two lead actors. Check it out if you are in the mood for a relevant, but tough watch.
Take a Shot: For each monologue by John.
Take a Drink: During each moment of loud score.
Take a Shot: During each tough scene: you are going to need some help to get through the flick.