Blue Caprice (January 20/14)
Based on true events, Blue Caprice follows Tequan Richmond's Lee, a young man essentially abandoned by his mother, as he falls under the spell of an increasingly dangerous father figure (Isaiah Washington's John) - with the film detailing the pair's relationship and their eventual murder spree through the Washington, D.C. area. First-time director Alexandre Moors has infused Blue Caprice with a pervasively, perpetually low-key vibe that proves an effective complement to R.F.I. Porto's spare screenplay, and it's clear almost immediately that Moors isn't terribly concerned with exploring or covering the various true-life details of this notorious case - with the filmmaker instead focused on the intense dynamic between the two central figures. The ensuing character-study atmosphere paves the way for a midsection that's often as underwhelming as it is intriguing, as Moors' subdued modus operandi prevents the viewer from wholeheartedly connecting to the material - although, by that same token, it's difficult to downplay the effectiveness of a few admittedly chilling sequences (eg John explains his plans to Lee during a routine shopping trip). By the time the almost unreasonably oblique final stretch rolls around, which leaves too many important questions left unanswered (eg how do John and Lee feel about what they're doing? does Lee feel any remorse? etc, etc), Blue Caprice has established itself as a half-baked endeavor that's unable to entirely live up to the promise of its setup and stellar performances.