The Interrupters Review

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A documentary charting the impact of 'The Interrupters', members of the Chicago Project for Violence Prevention (CeaseFire), and their attempts to rid the streets of Chicago of violence.


Treating violence like a disease, CeaseFire is an organisation devoted to bringing peace to the streets of Chicago. It’s a noble aim, and the born-again delinquents featured here deserve full respect for risking their lives to affect hearts and mindsets. But Hoop Dreams documentarist Steve James has picked the wrong format to tell their tale. This is the stuff of TV series, as you’re left too aware of the incidents, interventions and atonements discarded from the 300 hours of footage recorded over 14 months. Also, the epidemic and its cure aren’t assessed in their full socio-political context. What’s here is powerful, poignant and, surprisingly, optimistic. But it’s only half the story.

A welcome return from Hoop Dream director Steve James. Even at just shy of three hours, the format strains to accommodate such a complex, involving true-life story, but it makes a seriously impressive attempt.