These snipers are tough to figure out.
Director: Alexandre Moors
Screenplay: R. F. I Porto
Cast: Isaiah Washington (Doctor Bello), Tequan Richmond (Ray)
Runtime: 93 min
by John DeSando
“Who knows the secrets of the human heart?” The Crying Game
The strength and weakness of the docudrama Blue Caprice are the same: It does not attempt to explain the reasons two human beings would randomly kill 10 unknowing victims. So be it. Yet, if a drama, inspired by the true events of the 2002 sniper killings in the D.C. area, recreates, then depth, even if speculative, would seem in order.
Otherwise, I’m left with a hollow feeling that I could have researched the Internet in less time to get the story as it really happened with no “In Cold Blood” insight. Lee (Taquan Richmond) is the lost young man (abandoned by mom and dad), John (Isaiah Washington) is the father figure who harbors resentments against more than one person in his life. John has Lee learn to shoot guns and then channels him into slayings, many without resentments but overcast with the urge to cause chaos.
After retrofitting their Caprice to be a murder machine, the gruesome duo cause mayhem in the D.C.-Virginia area until caught napping in a parking area-- hardly romantic. But then this is hardly a romantic drama. Its greatest virtue is an unwillingness to posit motives, although the boy’s missing parents and the adult’s bitterness about the loss of his children and the neighbor who testified against his custody are contributors, no doubt.
As the Beltway snipers got the attention they sought, this comment from a citizen best reveals the panic that ensued: "We'd run through parking lots. I'd try not to get gas when I was with family. Once while I was pumping gas, I said to my boys, 'You have to get down on the floorboards.' "
The horror is that the massacre could happen at the hands of such inconsequential losers whose actions would be most difficult to predict. The reasons are probably many, but maybe the most telling is what Lee shouts to john, after he has punished the boy: "Dad, Dad, what did I do?”
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com