directed by Steve James
Many critics lamented this doc’s absence from the greats of 2011, and they were absolutely right. Steve James (remember Hoop Dreams?) has crafted an amazingly heart breaking, yet somehow hopeful documentary about life amid the violence of inner city Chicago. The Interrupters focuses on a group called Ceasefire, consisting of ex-gangbangers and criminals who seek to minimize violence (mainly gang related) by interceding before the altercation escalates. The interesting perspective held by members of the group is that violence is an actual disease, a modern plague that must be treated as such. The members of Ceasefire act as antibiotics or vaccines, interrupting the disease’s mutation before it becomes communicable. The members James chooses to highlight are astonishing examples of redemption and stalwart belief in the effects of such a daunting endeavor. These heroes all have demons, very real demons that cling to the coattails of the entire film, but James doesn’t try to vilify or exonerate, opting instead to simply shine a light on a very small, yet very significant effort to make things better. It’s a heavy brew, but well worth the time.