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76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics What's this?

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7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Mar 18, 2013
    100
    A riveting first feature of startling maturity and intelligence.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Mar 18, 2013
    90
    Precision-honed performances and a nonsensationalistic approach distinguish this impressive first feature from French helmer Alexandre Moors, which avoids pat explanations as it offers a speculative glimpse into murderous minds.
  3. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Mar 18, 2013
    88
    The filmmakers are more interested in questioning what brings people to commit senseless and merciless acts than they are preoccupied with the historical record.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Sep 11, 2013
    80
    It finds no clear answers, but that suits both the horrific event and this haunting, elusive film.
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Sep 26, 2013
    75
    Blue Caprice only spends a few minutes reenacting their crime — the movie shows us exactly how they did it in just a couple of scenes — because the facts of the case aren’t the movie’s focus. Instead, this lyrical, frightening film is a portrait of a man consumed by self-hatred who decided to take it out on the world.
  6. Reviewed by: Matthew Kassel
    Sep 3, 2013
    75
    Blue Caprice, a disturbingly intimate look at the Beltway sniper attacks of 2002, isn’t a horror film, but it certainly feels like one.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Sep 12, 2013
    50
    For all its tasteful spareness and eerie, diaphanous mood, Blue Caprice feels, in the end, insubstantial. It’s a true-crime story that illustrates little about the crime in question and a character study whose characters, even when haunting, remain stubbornly opaque.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Sep 20, 2013
    10
    In my opinion Blue Caprice is by far on of the best films of this year, the story is really interesting, the development is great, the script is awesome, the performances are amazing. Excellent movie! Expand
  2. Sep 13, 2013
    8
    Ominous and tense throughout, "Blue Caprice" is a slow burn that builds to an unsettling boil, leaving you with a known outcome that's hard to digest. Director Alexandre Moors crafts a deceptively eerie depiction of Lee Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, and to its credit, the movie never pretends to have the answer. Moors stunning debut captures a horrific and confining tone of the tragic three weeks in October of 2002, when ten people were assassinated in a random series of attacks spanning across Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. "Blue Caprice" features two fantastic performances from Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond portraying the Beltway Snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo.

    The movie begins on the Caribbean Island of Antigua, where life is not easy for a young Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond), who is left to fend for himself after his mother abandons him once again. Muhammad spots Lee who appears as if he is drowning, rescues him, and becomes an adoptive father figure. Moors uses Lee Malvo as the audience’s entry point into Muhammad’s world, and John's back story comes only in pieces. However, it doesn't take much to surmise that Muhammad is trouble.

    Flash forward a few months, and Muhammad has successfully smuggled Malvo into the United States, returning to Washington, where they stay with John's old friend Ray (Tim Blake Nelson), and his wife Jamie (Joey Lauren Adams). When Ray introduces Malvo to his gun collection to blow off steam, both men recognize the raw talent Lee possesses. Muhammad then begins to mold Malvo into a mindless assassin, eliminating any shred morality that may still lie within. This bond between the two progressively develops into a powerful, warped father-son style relationship. As the blind loyalty grows, we learn of John's grandiose scheme to create widespread mayhem and terror, starting with random killings following no discernible pattern.

    Moors directorial approach is consistent throughout, using restraint and creating distance from the actual assassination scenes. For example, he presents the reactions of Malvo shooting his weapon, rather than what is happening at the other end of the gun. A victim is only seen briefly as their body falls to the ground, while the Caprice slowly glides away.

    Moors creates a disturbing portrait of two ruthless men in free fall, and Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond both do outstanding work here. Washington has the extraordinarily difficult task of methodically revealing John's inner rage, resentments, and hatred that simmers just beneath his calm exterior. He’s both ferociously charismatic as well as deeply unsettling. Even more so impressive is the performance of Tequan Richmond, who must convey emotions, or lack thereof, in a character who rarely speaks of feelings at all. It's the sense of not knowing that makes his marvelous performance so chilling. The film owes a lot to its excellent cast, as well as the cinematography, and a sharp, minimalistic screenplay by R.F.I. Porto.

    What makes the film so exceptional is that it doesn't attempt to recreate, and instead reconstructs the story from the inside out. This was a distorted, horrific mission carried out through manipulation and the escalation of evil. "Blue Caprice" generates an innermost sense of riding in the backseat with these two, only to leave you with introspection and muddled thoughts that linger long after the viewing.
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  3. Sep 22, 2013
    7
    In 2002, ten people were randomly assassinated in the Washington D.C. area by a duo called the Beltway Snipers. Blue Caprice, a film by Alexadre Moors investigates these events.

    The film opens with the lush blues and greens of tropical Antigua, but to the young protagonist Lee Malvo (Tequin Richmond) having just been abandoned by his mother, this island paradise has become a prison. Just in time Lee is saved by John, a caring neighbor played Isaiah Washington. The pair soon depart Antigua for the US, Lee as John’s adopted son.

    Fast-forward a few months to Tacoma, Washington. John’s pathological personality has begun to emerge. Father and son drift from couch to couch. John’s other kids have been taken away by their mother, a restraining order officially filed. Enter firearms, and John’s maniacal attempt to transform Lee into an automaton assassin begins.

    John locates his ex-wife and kids in Maryland. Out for blood, John and Lee head east in a blue 1990 Chevy Caprice, what will become the epicenter for their killing spree. When they reach the Eastern US John’s psychopathology is unleashed and Lee is forced to help avenge a fictitious, eternal grudge.

    Director Moors shows us that Lee is undoubtedly a bright kid. He memorizes his combat manual in detail and applies the instruction with expert precision. Had he been a year older Lee may have applied these mercenary skills in the Army. We sense Lee feels remorse and does not want to become a hardened, senseless killer. In a touching scene, Lee steals, of all things, veggie burgers.

    Post Boston Marathon bombings, this film resonates strongly of the psychologically excruciating manipulation of the underling by the elder. After the Tsarnev brothers we why not keep this dialogue open? Or should we wait until after another docum-drama shows us the horrors, or another atrocity occurs?
    Expand
  4. Sep 30, 2013
    7
    This is an attempt to paint a psychological portrait of infamous Beltway snipers who killed 10 people in 2002 and terrorized Washington D.C. area for two weeks. I am not sure if the authors were successful to answer the question "Why did they do it?" There are many people angry at the world, some of them are trained to kill, whether by State or by themselves, some of them are deranged to different degrees but they do not become what these two did. This couple is not shown as simple evil-doers. A man rescues a stranger, a vulnerable teenage boy, from a suicide attempt. He stands up to become a fatherly figure for the boy, builds up his character, teaches his things, only to exploit him later as a killer or innocent people. No gun laws can protect a society from such people as these or Unabomber, or other mass killers.

    Overall, the movie is very well made, the script, performance and cinematography are solid. It is an impressive debut for Alexander Moors, this is his first full-time movie.
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  5. Mar 2, 2014
    6
    This is film that while put together well doesn't deal with the underlying reasons for this evil just to say that John Allen Muhammad felt wronged by society. Nevertheless a worth while effort. B Expand
  6. Jan 22, 2014
    5
    This work takes the story of the Beltway killings and strips it of any sentimentality. Like its subjects, this movie is cold and calculated in its study of the perpetrators and their descent into psychopathy. These men were depicted as anti-social in the most diagnostic sense of the term - they were amoral, capable, logical killers, completely confident in their mission to expose mankind to its own demons through premeditated acts of violence. Why then, with such compelling subject matter, did this film feel so long and redundant? The lack of dynamics in the story telling would be my best guess. Expand
  7. May 16, 2014
    4
    BLUE CAPRICE is a slow, meandering, quiet and brooding character study that does not translate into any insight or depth. This is just a lot of stuff. Then it ends. Expand

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