Blue Caprice ★★½

Compelling but unconvincing, too detached in tone to effectively recreate the actual paranoid terror these crimes provoked. Director Alexandre Moors obviously studied Zodiac before production; while Blue Caprice can't quite be labeled blatantly Fincher-esque in its feel, it certainly fits the bill in its palette and murky remoteness. Yet where Fincher's classic thrives on ambiguity and dread, Moors approaches his sociopaths from the opposite direction, offering over an hour of prosaic exposition on their background before transitioning into their shooting spree. In theory, it's a noble approach: a true-crime thriller not centered on the sensationalistic bloodshed at its core. And it does paint a fairly revealing picture about John Muhammad (an excellent Isaiah Washington) and Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond), portraying them as sympathetic at first, one haunted by past mistakes, the other by neglect, far removed from their eventual cross-country rampage. Yet Moors' singular devotion to establishing John and Lee as manipulator and clouded devotee distances the film from its source material; the shootings in Maryland and DC flash by either as an opening credits montage or a string of disjointed images during the final fifteen minutes, bereft of the horror wrought by the two men. The victims existing solely as such—nameless, dying bodies—feels distasteful, as if Moors and screenwriter R.F.I. Porto forgot their psychological thriller is born from the blood of real-life murdered human beings. It leaves Blue Caprice incomplete and one-sided, as cold in its perspective as the killers themselves.

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