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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blue Caprice: ND/NF Review

Sundance Selects
Blue Caprice
2013, 93 minutes
Rated R for disturbing violent content, language and brief drug use

Review by Joshua Handler

Blue Caprice marks the feature film debut of Alexandre Moors and what a debut it is.  Blue Caprice tells the story of a man, John (Isaiah Washington in a powerhouse performance), who takes in a motherless boy, Lee (Tequan Richmond) in the Caribbean.  Upon returning to the United States, John loses his children to his ex-wife, and he begins to become disillusioned about America, prompting him to teach Lee how to use guns to go on a random killing spree.  This killing spree became known as the Beltway sniper attacks.  

R.F.I. Porto, the film's screenwriter, marks his feature film debut with Blue Caprice.  Porto does so many things right, but the most important was the choice to leave most of the violence off-screen and to show how a killer is made.  This film is a psychological study of two people and how one can be convinced to commit heinous crimes through manipulation and brainwashing.

The performances by Washington and Richmond are really impressive.  Washington, an actor who has acted in an extensive amount of films, is amazing.  He is intense and builds a character who becomes more and more unhinged and disillusioned as time goes on.  Tequan Richmond, on the other hand, has not had a large career yet, however I expect this to change after people see his performance in this film. Richmond has very little dialogue in this film, but that only makes his performance more frightening.  At the beginning of the film, his character, Lee, is orphaned when his mother leaves him.  A boy with no one around and no food in the refrigerator, Lee has lost faith in everything until John takes him in and becomes like a father to him.  Richmond expertly shows the troubled nature of this young man with his face.  Throughout the film, Lee changes and Richmond shows the humanity behind this boy who became a monster.

Blue Caprice is Alexandre Moors feature film debut.  It is amazing to me that a movie this controlled and disturbing is the work of a newcomer.  Every shot seems carefully planned and the pace of the film is even.  The film does not build to a shocking, explosive conclusion.  It does, however, end powerfully, and only a talented director could make it work, and Moors does.  If Blue Caprice is as widely seen as it should be, Moors' talents will be recognized and he will have quite the career ahead of him.

My one small issue with this film is that while the climax of the film is disturbing, it should have been more powerful.  The ending is certainly powerful, but what precedes it should have been maybe a bit more exciting.  While one of this film's virtues is its lack of sensationalization, it could have been more dramatic at the climax.  That being said, this does not detract much from this otherwise excellent film.

Overall, Blue Caprice is a really impressive debut film that will be opening New Directors/New Films tomorrow night.  This film has no release date yet, so go see it.

-Joshua Handler

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