The Interrupters (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Interrupters (2011)



Critic Consensus: Impeccably crafted and edited, The Interrupters is a tough and honest documentary about street violence that truly has the power to inspire change.

The Interrupters Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The Interrupters tells the moving and surprising stories of three Violence Interrupters who try to protect their Chicago communities from the violence they once employed. From acclaimed director Steve James and bestselling author Alex Kotlowitz, this film is an unusually intimate journey into the stubborn persistence of violence in our cities. Shot over the course of a year out of Kartemquin Films, The Interrupters captures a period in Chicago when it became a national symbol for the violence in our cities. During that period, the city was besieged by high-profile incidents, most notably the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, a Chicago High School student, whose death was caught on videotape. The film's main subjects work for an innovative organization, CeaseFire, which believes that the spread of violence mimics the spread of infectious diseases, and so the treatment should be similar: go after the most infected, and stop the infection at its source. --(C) Official Sitemore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Alex Kotlowitz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 13, 2012
Box Office: $0.3M
Cinema Guild - Official Site

Watch it now


Ricardo Williams
as Ricardo Williams
Tio Hardiman
as Tio Hardiman
Gary Slutkin
as Gary Slutkin
Eddie Bocanegra
as Eddie Bocanegra
Ameena Matthews
as Ameena Matthews
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Interrupters

Critic Reviews for The Interrupters

All Critics (87) | Top Critics (26)

Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra used to instigate Chicago street violence. Now they live for nipping it in the bud, block by treacherous block.

Full Review… | December 8, 2011
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Where James's film excels is as direct experiential cinema -- without narration, onscreen interviews or acknowledgment of the presence of the camera -- it is an intensely dramatic window into a world.

Full Review… | October 7, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A sobering but not hopeless look at how the Windy City is attempting to turn around a rising tide of street shooting, through the work of a unique group called CeaseFire.

Full Review… | October 6, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

There's no doubt The Interrupters do some good; but there's also no doubt the problem they're facing is enormous.

Full Review… | September 16, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

The film feels weirdly hands-off and remote, as if glimpsed from a distance.

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

For about $1,000 every two weeks, these people try to make a concrete, palpable change in a community that fights them at every turn. What's amazing is not whether or not they're effective; what's amazing is that they even try at all.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Audience Reviews for The Interrupters

A powerful look at the epidemic of violence in Chicago. Director Steve James is right on the front lines of a war that Americans do their best to ignore. There are no gimmicks to be found here. Just a raw look at those doing their best to make a difference in a city beset by bedlam.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


A deeply depressing, saddening documentary concerning the violence on the streets of Chicago, and how a group of former gang-members give their best efforts to destroy the "disease" that infects the culture they were once apart of. Steve James, no stranger to creating relentlessly nihilistic backdrops that his characters do not realize they can not get out of (seen also in the devastating "Hoop Dreams"), paints a vivid, somber portrait here. It is definitely difficult not to be in awe in this group of individuals trying to stop the chaos, as the genuine concern and sympathy to stop others from going down the same road they did is shown in outstanding detail. Quite simply, this is one of the better documentaries put out in quite some time, matching up against 2010's "Exit at the Gift Shop". It is a very tough watch though, as life on the street is not fun to see and the senseless, arrogant, misinformed young people that throw their lives away for what they confuse to be for a good cause (loyalty, vengeance, etc...) is downright sickening. But it is a story that needs to be seen, heard, and talked about, and James impeccably crafts this - it will not leave you quickly.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

a powerful doc from the director of 'hoop dreams,' the film shows the work of violence interrupters, former gang members and ex cons who intervene in disputes and try to diffuse the situations, in the wake of an unprecedented level of youth violence in chicago. kids of 15 and even younger dying in the streets over perceived slights in an endless cycle of paybacks and reprisals, heaps of stuffed animals at death site memorials, raw emotions of family and friends and their interactions with the people who try to break the chains of gang violence. very emotional and inspiring to see good results in some cases. this is streaming on pbs in the US for a limited time:

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

The Interrupters Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Interrupters on our Movie forum!