The Interrupters

Critics Consensus

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

99%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 93

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,569

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Movie Info

Members of the activist group CeaseFire work to curb violence in their Chicago neighborhoods by intervening in street fights and showing youths a better way to resolve conflicts.

Cast & Crew

Ameena Matthews



Steve James
Director

Writer
Teddy Leifer
Executive Producer
Justine Nagan
Executive Producer
Gordon Quinn
Executive Producer
Steve James
Producer

Producer
Steve James
Cinematographer
Steve James
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for The Interrupters

Critic Reviews for The Interrupters

  • 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.

    December 8, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 7, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    October 6, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • It's a year in the life and death of the fight against the streetwise status quo, and James' doc brings it all horrifically home.

    September 30, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • There's no doubt The Interrupters do some good; but there's also no doubt the problem they're facing is enormous.

    September 16, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Realistically inspiring and, thankfully, not overly dramatized.

    September 16, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Interrupters

  • Mar 15, 2013
    Even with the precarious message of hope that the heartrending documentary "The Interrupters" delivers, from watching the news it is painfully clear that violence is still a huge problem plaguing the youth of Chicago since the release of this potent film. Take away those news cameras and wait for the police presence to retreat(who in the documentary are best viewed as outsiders by people in the neighborhood), life goes on and people die which is where the interrupters of Cease Fire Illinois come in, as we get a streel level view over the period of a year in Chicago. They are all former convicts and reformed gangbangers who speak from experience in their role as mediator, counselor, mentor and referee, as an added form of penance, with otherwise their lives being back on track. The focus in the documentary is on Eddie Bocanegra, Ameena Matthews and Cobe Williams who ironically lives out in the country. Basically, aside from directly intervening in violent acts(one scene involves a fight outside of a Cease Fire office with people too aggravated to notice they are being filmed), they seek to stop violence from happening before it has a chance to escalate and most admirably to change the way people think, starting with speaking to students who often feel they do not have a future with Bocanegra going one step further by sharing his artwork with them.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2013
    The Interrupters forgoes the intimate personalization of its subjects that made James' previous work Hoop Dreams so special, and the result is revealing but ultimately bland and dawdling look at gang violence in Chicago.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2012
    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 V Super Reviewer
  • Feb 24, 2012
    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 S Super Reviewer

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