'Blue Caprice' explores the murky motives of the Beltway snipers
The shootings themselves are dealt with very discreetly in Blue Caprice, though it's chilling enough just watching the two leads arbitrarily pick targets. Moors and scenarist Ronnie Porto aim to conjure an atmosphere of isolation and indoctrination where we're nearly as blindsided as Lee; the nondescript American settings they temporarily inhabit become hostile environs he and John infiltrate like spies for reasons that understandably wouldn't make a lick of sense to anyone else. "They don't realize the house of cards they live in. All it would take it one little push," Muhammad says ominously, seeing himself as one-man destroying angel of some Great Lie. His delusions are as incoherent to us as they remain in real life.
While its deliberate omissions and psychological gaps are somewhat frustrating, Blue Caprice does cast a spell — aided considerably by Brian O'Carroll's artful photography (no shaky-cam here) and a fine, unpredictable original score by Sarah Neufeld and Colin Stetson. The real Muhammad tried claiming that no proof could be found that he actually committed any of the shootings. That notion was tossed aside in court, and he died by lethal injection — calling himself an "innocent black man" to the end — in September 2009. Malvo was sentenced to life without parole. He revealed little in his Virginia trial, but by the time of his subsequent prosecution in Maryland, he no longer felt the need to protect Muhammad, and denied he'd been the sole triggerman. Just last year he came forward to say that Muhammad had sexually abused him.
Since the trials, the two have been linked to as many as 12 unsolved additional killings. What's perhaps most disturbing about their case is that, strange as it is, in today's US such conspiratorial murder of strangers doesn't really seem that strange at all. Think of it this way: in 1976, the plot of Taxi Driver seemed improbable. But we now live in a world of well-armed Travis Bickles, prepping themselves to avenge some grave personal injustice they think everybody else must pay for. *
BLUE CAPRICE opens Fri/20 at the Roxie.
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