Chicago-based CeaseFire, a group made up of former gang members who intervene with gangs before conflicts get violent, is the riveting subject of Hoop Dreams documentarian Steve James.
Shot over the course of a year in James's intensely voyeuristic style, the film explores the lives of so-called interrupters Ameena, Cobe, and Eddie. The three once lived the brutal life on the streets of Chicago but are now dedicated to eradicating not only gang violence but also its culture from the same community where they once gang-banged.
The CeaseFire members struggle to focus on the most troubled parts of the community while earning very little pay, dealing with self-doubts among constant reminders of their past crimes, and facing daily life-threatening situations.
Ameena is a former gang enforcer and the daughter of former Chicago kingpin Jeff Fort, who in 1987 was convicted for conspiring with Libya to perform acts of domestic terrorism in 1987. Her fevered passion makes her the true force of the film. She believes she can reform the kids she confronts by using her violent past and her ability to connect with the gang members.
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With seemingly unlimited access, The Interrupters is an explosive and unapologetic look at the vicious reality of gang life and the former bangers who now look to "interrupt" it at every turn. At almost three hours, the film powerfully immerses you in the stark and dangerous world of gang violence and those dedicated to putting a stop to it.