The Interrupters

"Excellent"

The Interrupters Review


This gripping and very long documentary traces a year in the life of a Chicago neighbourhood that's plagued by youth violence. And by focussing on charity workers working to interrupt the cycle, the film finds some real hope.

Gary Slutkin, a medical doctor who worked in Africa for 10 years fighting cholera and Aids, has applied the principles of epidemiology to tackling inner-city violence. His organisation CeaseFire hires former gang members as Violence Interrupters, working in the streets to encourage young people to stop killing each other. Ameena is the daughter of notorious gang leader Jeff Fort, Cobe was in and out of prison until having a son made him rethink his life, and Eddie is haunted by a murder he participated in at 17. All three are now making a positive difference in their communities.

Director James deploys a seamless fly-on-the-wall style, simply following these three workers into the streets where they talk with a variety of young people whose stories we also follow. There's 19-year-old Caprysha, who doesn't yet want to leave the drugs and violence behind. Latoya is in hiding from her duelling sons Kenneth and Bud. And the teenaged Mikey is just out of prison and determined not to end up back behind bars.

The urgent reality-show style of filmmaking puts us right in the middle of some remarkably intimate situations while really letting us get to know each person, Which acutely highlights the complexity of each situation. These children are being killed for no real reason, sparking gruesome revenge attacks. There's no thought about consequences, since surviving takes all of their attention. And the interrupters know that they walk a fine line: you can't mediate without confrontation.

The film touches on so many big issues that it's almost overwhelming. This isn't about addressing the causes of violence or gangs; it's about saving someone's life. It would certainly make an involving TV series, as this film follows both interrupters and the people they work with over the course of a year. And James' approach sharply captures the difficulty of the situation as well as a gritty and inspirational sense that perhaps the cycle can be broken one person at a time.



The Interrupters

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 125 mins

In Theaters: Friday 12th August 2011

Box Office USA: $0.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $282.4 thousand

Distributed by: Cinema Guild

Production compaines: Kartemquin Films, Rise Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 84

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Alex Kotlowitz

Starring: Tio Hardiman as Himself, Ameena Matthews as Herself, Cobe Williams as Himself, Gary Slutkin as Himself, Caprysha Anderson as Herself, Eddie Bocanegra as Himself, "Lil' Mikey" Davis as Himself

Also starring:

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