Blue is the coldest color in debuting director Alexandre Moors' "Blue Caprice," the story of a boy in need of a father, a father in need of an accomplice and of a kind of madness rationalized into a crusade -- one that left 10 people dead and three others critically wounded during a rampage around Washington, D.C., in 2002. "Blue Caprice" is not a crime story, as much as a prelude to madness unleashed.

Slate blue is the color of the Chevrolet that John Allen Muhammad (a terrific Isaiah Washington) and his young accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (Tequan Richmond), drive around the Washington area, and along the I-95 corridor in Virginia, looking for random victims during October 2002. And a steely blue also describes the palette Moors uses across his entire movie, in which nothing is as it ought to be: A boy the age of Lee shouldn't be abandoned by his mother, but he is, on his home island of Antigua, which is where he meets Muhammad. The older man brings the younger back to the States, perhaps as a substitute for the children he's in the process of losing in a nasty custody fight with his unseen ex-wife. The loss of his children eats at Muhammad, who already harbors a rich vein of rage looking for a vent. And if he can't find one, he'll have to make one up.

"Blue Caprice" consists mostly of prelude -- to murder, and to the relationship that will facilitate the crimes. Washington is charismatic, magnetic and awful as Muhammad; Richmond, who has, among other things, played the older brother in "Everybody Hates Chris," is affecting, even moving, as a boy who transitions from mute observer to cold-blooded killer because his "father" wants him to.

The entire movie is an experiment in disturbance -- that of the characters, as well as the audience. The results are nerve-racking, and resonant.

Blue is the coldest color in debuting director Alexandre Moors' "Blue Caprice," the story of a boy in need of a father, a father in need of an accomplice and of a kind of madness rationalized into a crusade -- one that left 10 people dead and three others critically wounded during a rampage around Washington, D.C., in 2002. "Blue Caprice" is not a crime story, as much as a prelude to madness unleashed.

Slate blue is the color of the Chevrolet that John Allen Muhammad (a terrific Isaiah Washington) and his young accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (Tequan Richmond), drive around the Washington area, and along the I-95 corridor in Virginia, looking for random victims during October 2002. And a steely blue also describes the palette Moors uses across his entire movie, in which nothing is as it ought to be: A boy the age of Lee shouldn't be abandoned by his mother, but he is, on his home island of Antigua, which is where he meets Muhammad. The older man brings the younger back to the States, perhaps as a substitute for the children he's in the process of losing in a nasty custody fight with his unseen ex-wife. The loss of his children eats at Muhammad, who already harbors a rich vein of rage looking for a vent. And if he can't find one, he'll have to make one up.

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"Blue Caprice" consists mostly of prelude -- to murder, and to the relationship that will facilitate the crimes. Washington is charismatic, magnetic and awful as Muhammad; Richmond, who has, among other things, played the older brother in "Everybody Hates Chris," is affecting, even moving, as a boy who transitions from mute observer to cold-blooded killer because his "father" wants him to.

The entire movie is an experiment in disturbance -- that of the characters, as well as the audience. The results are nerve-racking, and resonant.

Blue is the coldest color in debuting director Alexandre Moors' "Blue Caprice," the story of a boy in need of a father, a father in need of an accomplice and of a kind of madness rationalized into a crusade -- one that left 10 people dead and three others critically wounded during a rampage around Washington, D.C., in 2002. "Blue Caprice" is not a crime story, as much as a prelude to madness unleashed.

Slate blue is the color of the Chevrolet that John Allen Muhammad (a terrific Isaiah Washington) and his young accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo (Tequan Richmond), drive around the Washington area, and along the I-95 corridor in Virginia, looking for random victims during October 2002. And a steely blue also describes the palette Moors uses across his entire movie, in which nothing is as it ought to be: A boy the age of Lee shouldn't be abandoned by his mother, but he is, on his home island of Antigua, which is where he meets Muhammad. The older man brings the younger back to the States, perhaps as a substitute for the children he's in the process of losing in a nasty custody fight with his unseen ex-wife. The loss of his children eats at Muhammad, who already harbors a rich vein of rage looking for a vent. And if he can't find one, he'll have to make one up.

"Blue Caprice" consists mostly of prelude -- to murder, and to the relationship that will facilitate the crimes. Washington is charismatic, magnetic and awful as Muhammad; Richmond, who has, among other things, played the older brother in "Everybody Hates Chris," is affecting, even moving, as a boy who transitions from mute observer to cold-blooded killer because his "father" wants him to.

@Newsday

The entire movie is an experiment in disturbance -- that of the characters, as well as the audience. The results are nerve-racking, and resonant.

PLOT Liberally dramatized account of the infamous Beltway Sniper case, in which 10 people were murdered in the D.C. area in 2002.

RATING R

CAST Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams

LENGTH 1:33

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BOTTOM LINE Unnerving study of need, manipulation and the making of a misbegotten family.