Wednesday, August 22, 2012

STF Critic Marcus O'Sullivan on The Interrupters

"Here’s a modern-day, real-life superhero movie" - Marcus O'Sullivan, IFI Stranger Than Fiction Festival Critic reviews The Interrupters. 

Violence functions like an invisible disease that infects individuals and communities, like tuberculosis or the plague of yesteryear. That’s the premise behind The Interrupters, a film that follows a group of outreach workers aiming to prevent violence by interrupting potential outbreaks before they kick off, verbally diffusing escalating situations.

Chicago has one of the highest incidences of youth violence in America. And it’s a misconception that the violence in these communities is organized, planned criminality. It’s mostly random, occasional, starting over by the smallest verbal disputes or the pettiest problems. By intervening just before the flash point, by getting people to take one step back, the interrupters have managed a 45% reduction in the amount of violence in some communities.

Most of the interrupters are ex-gang members themselves, and all of them are incredibly courageous people. Director Steve James’ camera is right on the front lines, and his intimate access into the lives of the people on both sides of the divide is surprisingly deep. We get to know the lively personalities of the interrupters themselves, and the tragic circumstances of the families they’re trying to help.

This movie will give you an insight into the problem of violence that’s lightyears beyond crime statistics or news reports, and it’s a humbling example of how much some people are willing to give to their community. Fans of The Avengers or Batman take note: here’s a modern-day, real-life superhero movie. 

Marcus O'Sullivan (@mwosullivan )
IFI Stranger Than Fiction Festival Critic

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