Does this mean that they’re totally off the market now? Or at least somewhat cheaper? Cause my car’s been in the shop for quite some time now that I think about it…
16-year-old Lee (Tequan Richmond) is left abandoned all alone in Antigua by his mother where he’s left to fend for himself. He fails at doing so and plans on killing himself by drowning, however, he is saved by John Allen Muhammad (Isaiah Washington), a father of three kids who live nearby. Knowing that Lee has nowhere to stay and keep after himself, Muhammad decides to take the kid under his wing and teach him all of the tricks of the trade when it comes to life, living it, and just how you can get by, or something like that. After Muhammad’s kids are sent back to the U.S. to live with their mommy, he and Lee decide it’s time to travel to the U.S. where they can continue to spread their “mission” all around the world. In essence, this would become what we know as the 2002 Beltway Sniper attacks.
I must be honest here, seeing movies that are “based on a true story”, especially when the story is as tragic and as disturbing as this, doesn’t really cut it for me. Not because I don’t want to be reminded of the sadness that was bestowed onto countless of human-beings, but because they never seem to do much with the material the movie has to work with. They usually come off as meandering, never really exploring the peeps involved more than they should, and just seem to talk more about the actual “incident” than anything else.
However, this one was slightly different in the way that it didn’t necessarily talk about the Beltway Sniper attacks, but more or less just show us that it happened, gave us the people behind it, and let us make up our own minds about what’s going on inside the heads of these individuals, as messed-up as they may be. Even when we do get certain references to the actual killings, they’re shown in an effective way where we don’t see the shootings happen, but actually hear the actual 911 calls that are almost as frightening here, as they must have been for that unlucky 911 operator on the other end. The whole opening-credit sequence is dedicated to these, along with actual news footage that really gives into the post-9/11 paranoia of what we were going through at that time, and what this event only made worse. Like I said though, this isn’t just about the killings and the logistics about what happened, this is about the two who caused it all, and believe it or not, they give us an interesting story that’s worth seeing, if you can even fathom taking a look on the other side of things. Only if.
Yes, this is definitely more of a character-study than a play-by-the-numbers, retelling of the killings and it shows us that these were some two, very messed-up peeps we were messing with here. But it also shows you the dynamic in their relationship, in how it’s not necessarily a “father-son” one (even though they persist on calling each other that), and more of something that’s somewhat “cultish”. For instance, Muhammad takes this young boy underneath his arm and gives him everything he needs, but in return, wants him to do things that he wants. What Muhammad wants is murder, murder, and more murder, which this young boy, Lee, is totally down to perform fully because he doesn’t really know much else about the world. Anything he ever knew before left him all alone, and now that he was finally getting some love and attention shown to him, he wanted to keep it all for himself, by any means possible.
The kid’s been totally brain-washed beyond his belief, which, dare I say it, may make him somewhat sympathetic in some eyes. Of course this kid should never, ever be released because, mind-fucked or not, he still killed 10 people and that should never be forgotten. However, the movie does make an argument that everything he did was simply out of his control for one way or another, and while that may infuriate some viewers, it didn’t to me because it made a strong-case for somebody who has recently actually spoken-out against what he did, and realized that he was the “monster” he was designed to be by this man, John Muhammad.
Regardless of if he realizes his faults or not, he’ll never see the barbed-wire gates from the other side, and that’s just how it’s going to be.
That said, the movie doesn’t just make the case for Lee Malvo, and surprisingly, even goes so far as to make an intriguing case for John Muhammad who seems like the charming, likable dude any lonely 16-year-old would fall for, but soon shows himself out to be something more barbaric and demented. This is where the genius of Isaiah Washington comes in who, though hasn’t shown up in much ever since he dropped a little “F-bomb” a couple of years ago, still proves why he’s always a welcome-presence in any movie he does, even when he isn’t playing a guy you like. Yet, he still makes you want to watch and not look away one bit, which makes him all the more of a compelling figure to pay attention to and learn more about. Because honestly, you still have to think: Is there more to this guy than just a bunch of crazy, “Fuck the Machine” rants? Or is he actually a troubled guy who just wants to see his kids? Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a big leap forward, but you see what I’m saying? There’s more to this cat than meets the eyes, and Washington allows us to see that feature in him. Let’s hope this means he’ll stick around longer.
One many will probably be really surprised in terms of acting and range, is Tequan Richmond who, if you don’t know already by his familiar-face, played Chris Rock’s little brother on, hey, you guessed it, Everybody Hates Chris. Richmond is someone you must watch in this movie because although he isn’t showy or flashy in the types of ways Washington’s performance is, he still has you thinking about him the whole time wondering what he’s allowing to settle in his mind as “right”, or “wrong”. You know he’s a good kid, and a very smart one at that, but does he have the emptiness in his soul to go through with this? You’ll never know with Richmond’s performance and for that, I feel like the kid just did himself a big favor and showed the world that he’s got a little something to prove. Let’s hope it lasts, much like Washington’s career-reboot.
Consensus: Definitely only for the people who can still stomach looking inside the minds and the lives of the ones who committed these heinous real-life acts of violence, but for those who can actually do so, Blue Caprice is rewarding in its quiet, disturbing, and compelling way.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!