Blue Caprice has all the pieces needed to be an action film with a decent amount of drama, but it loses you somewhere.
I have an unfortunate curiosity when it comes to Black films. I say this because, while there are good ones out there, I don’t find too many of them which aren’t comedies. So, whenever a drama comes up like Blue Caprice, and it is an indie movie, I cross my fingers and toes and hope for the best. Now, besides the draw of being a Black drama, there are also a few familiar faces in this film. The first one I noticed was Tequan Richmond who most surely will know for his work on Everybody Hates Chris; then there is Isaiah Washington, whose career went to hell after he called someone something derogatory on Grey’s Anatomy; and there is also Joey Lauren Adams who I know from Switched at Birth.
Now, the characters in this film, I feel, aren’t that terribly compelling. Richmond’s Lee, is a complicated role, but at the same time it only seems so because Richmond, thus far, is known for working in comedy. Due to this, seeming him as a mostly silent kid who is trying to figure out a way to survive, even if it means doing bad things, helps him be the only actor who benefits from this production. Washington, on the other hand, plays John, who you can tell has issues, but you aren’t fully sure if he has PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) from being in the military, though he worked more so in the motor pool, or if he may be truly crazy. Both, for me, didn’t really have well developed characters, and pretty much every other character in the film was put into a supporting role and, while given names, they gave you little reason to care about their characters.
Which sort of is why the story felt so dull. You see, Lee is a kid who might have been abandoned by his mother as she goes to work in America and she says she’ll send for him soon. Thing is, we are left wondering who is going to take care of this 16 year old boy? He doesn’t seem to have any family to help, or friends of his mother, so he just ends up wandering the streets until he meets John who is on vacation with his kids. From there, the story begins to make you question things, and seemingly it even deviates from its source material of the Beltway Sniper Attacks. So, for reasons never fully noted, John brings Lee to America and begins training the boy in the ways of handling a gun. After that, the boy slowly morphs into a hardened murderer who sees this man he didn’t know for 16 years of his life, as his father who he would do anything for. Including shooting men, women, children and even pregnant women.
Let me first state, I have no issues with seeing Black people as villains. Part of the appeal of this film was seeing Washington and Richmond play something evil without being some sort of comical character or gangster. That, perhaps, was one of the few refreshing things about this movie. Also, I think Richmond did really well in his performance of Lee. I must admit though, his appeal as Lee is similar, but not as powerful, as Mo’Nique’s performance in Precious. What is meant by this is, you don’t really expect much out of Richmond since he has thus far worked in comedy, so you have little to no expectations out of him. So, while he surely didn’t give the type of performance like Mo’Nique did, it did however have the similar “Oh, so you can do dramatic roles too?” type of effect.
But, outside of some praise for seeing Black villains and Richmond, this movie was just bland. Washington’s character John has all this drama in his life with his wife, mistress and situation with his kids, and though it is mentioned a bit throughout the film, you aren’t ever really sure what the catalyst was for all the issues the man has. Add onto that, Richmond’s Lee, while an interesting character, I don’t think they once said the boy’s name in the film, or if they did it was rare. Also, they film snatches away the idea that Lee’s mom knew John, so they make it so this boy wandering in Antigua finds this man and his three kids and forms a bond with him to the point where he forgets about his mother, and even finding her in America, and decides to stick with this guy who wants him to kill people to prove his love and loyalty. Now it could just be me, but that whole scenario just didn’t click as logical, or possible, in my head.
To be honest, this may make a good film for background noise since the soundtrack has a lot of classical pieces in it, but those intent on watching the film for the story will be left disappointed. It takes a real life event, or better said: tragedy, and while it uses the actual act which would draw you to the story, everything else seems to be an overuse of artistic license. Because of this, I can’t even say it is Sunday movie watching, for really why waste somewhere around $10 on a movie which tries, but sadly fails?