Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blue Caprice Review

I remember how terrifying it was when the seemingly random and baffling murders of everyday people occurred during October 2002 in the region of the United States made up of Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C., known as the beltway, their deaths coming at quiet moments of normalcy at the hands of someone with a sniper rifle. As I reside in Illinois, I wasn't near the chaos and fear that stopped people from doing simple things like going shopping or pumping gas, but it still had an effect on me mentally, taking a moment each day to consider how fragile life really was. The film Blue Caprice tells the story of those that took those innocent lives, a man named John Allen Muhammad and his young protege Lee Boyd Malvo, focusing more on the development of their relationship and the troubling way an evil mind can essentially be created by an influential source.

A highly impressive film by first time screenwriter and director Alexandre Moors, the real life subjects that fill the frames are fascinating because we want to learn more in terms of a motive that was never fully fleshed out after these murders, but Moors doesn't attempt to provide it for us because the answer simply may not be there. Blue Caprice is a film that tells a specific story but really it has a much broader message to portray, that being the fact that pure evil can be so frighteningly absurd, lacking any sense of logic or reason for why people lose their lives at times like this. The question that is always raised immediately after one of the mass murders that seem to occur far too often in America is "Why?". Sometimes a reason is provided, one that is never understandable and typically disturbing because of how unimportant it might seem to a normal person, like being rejected by a girl or an argument on Facebook, but a reason none the less. However, every so often a tragedy seems to be void of any reason at all, and when the question "Why?" is asked, evil looks back at them and answers "Why not?"

The atmosphere of Blue Caprice worked because of its constant sense of quiet and calm despite the story revolving around chaos. Isaiah Washington plays Muhammad with nuance, an eerie confidence and clear hatred for others yet he is able to appear socially normal and sometimes even charming. Tequan Richmond fills the role of Malvo, a young man in search of guidance and a father figure and he unfortunately finds these things in Muhammad, essentially allowing himself to be brainwashed by a nonsensical message of hate. The film takes the time to build up their connection and lead us completely down the path of how the shootings came to be rather than rush any characters and relationship development in order to focus on the carnage.

I have noticed that audience ratings for this film seem a bit low, much to my surprise. I found the storytelling choices to be excellent as the mood of these men and their plan seeped into my skin and shook me, leaving me still searching for answers to any questions I had regarding the attacks but in the end that's the point: the answers simply aren't there. John Allen Muhammad wanted to kill as many people as possible to send a message, but what that message was remains a mystery, and with the capital punishment sentence since carried out after his capture we will never fully know what resided inside his mind. His targets? Absolutely anyone standing where their gun was pointed, no rhyme or reason for the choice.

Scary, isn't it?


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