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The Interrupters (2011)

Unrated | | Documentary, Crime | 12 August 2011 (UK)
2:28 | Trailer

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A year in the life of a city grappling with urban violence.



(New York Times magazine article)
9 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tio Hardiman ...
Ameena Matthews ...
Toya Batey ...
Cobe Williams ...
Gary Slutkin ...
Earl Sawyer ...
Bud Oliver ...
Kenneth Oliver ...
Caprysha Anderson ...
Sheikh Rasheed ...
Alfreda Williams ...
Mildred Jones ...
Mildred Williams ...
Lillian 'Madea' Smith ...
Rashida ...


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. The singular mission of the "... Written by Kartemquin Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every City Needs Its Heroes


Documentary | Crime


Unrated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 August 2011 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Steve James Project  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,557 (USA) (5 August 2011)


$282,448 (USA) (17 February 2012)

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Production Co:

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Did You Know?


The film is Steve James' sixth feature length collaboration with his long-time filmmaking home, the non-profit Chicago production studio Kartemquin Films, and is also his fifth feature to screen at the Sundance Film Festival. See more »


Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.12 (2011) See more »


Mom in the Moon
Used by permission of Storycatchers Theatre
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User Reviews

Chicago at War
30 August 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Only 9 reviews?!! This movie needs to be seen!

I live in Chicago, and every morning the Chicago Tribune has a headline tallying the overnight wounded and dead. It's not at all unlike the beginning days of the Gulf War, where every news hour would begin with the number of soldiers killed that day. The difference being that those stories gradually subsided as the numbers dwindled, and they were based on deaths in an actual military conflict. There are neighborhoods in Chicago that are as much like war zones as any area of Afghanistan, but no one is paying attention.

"The Interrupters" doesn't really try to address why no one is paying attention. It doesn't need to, because everyone pretty much knows the answer even if they're not willing to admit it to themselves. These aren't rural white kids getting killed for their country; these are poor, disenfranchised black kids who most people don't care about. Instead, this documentary follows a few members of CeaseFire, a nonprofit group comprised of past gang members, street criminals, etc. who are now using a tactic of intervention to stop chains of violence before they spiral out of control. These people are deeply admirable. They're not trying to break up gangs, they're not police informers. They're simply trying to make one person understand how pointless it is to shoot another person, no matter what grievances are at play.

This film is by Steve James, the same director who did the tremendous "Hoop Dreams," and if it doesn't have that film's epic scope, it has a more immediate sense of urgency.

After watching "The Interrupters" my wife and I were instantly online looking into ways to support CeaseFire. I hope others do the same.

Grade: A+

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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