THE INTERRUPTERS “Do you mind? I was saying someth—" “No, do you mind? I was—”

AS THE INTERRUPTERS shows, sticks and stones do break bones (very effectively), and words can often lead to death. You won't find a more intimate or more frustrating portrait of urban violence in America than The Interrupters, which follows a year in the lives of a group trying to stop the epidemic cycle of youth violence on Chicago's streets. The filmmakers—Hoop Dreams director Steve James and journalist Alex Kotlowitz—embed themselves with a cadre of reformed gang members and drug lords who now spend their long days and longer nights trying to stop angry teens from shooting each other over offhand insults and $5 bags of weed.

James' camera captures astounding moments—the flare-up of an almost-deadly fistfight, the fiery preaching of a petite Muslim woman fed up with the deaths—letting viewers into a tense world of pointless violence. And maybe the version you'll see will be better than the one we did: The advance screener provided to us felt overly long, clocking in at an engrossing but unrelenting two-and-a-half hours, but shortly before going to press, we received word that James had shaved 20 minutes off the film's runtime for its theatrical release.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30