There are places in Chicago where violence can erupt over nothing. These are street corners, alleys, schoolyards, lawns—common sites. But the people in them are uncommonly poor, oppressed and angry. They reach their boiling point early in the day, and disrespect alone can be too much to take.
This isn’t the Chicago I’ve seen in person. My trips there have showed me great architecture, great shopping; exposed me to fine art and cool music. I’m a tourist. Occasionally, The Interrupters shows us that Chicago too—mostly in brief tracking shots of gleaming towers like the ones I walked beneath. But the towers are always moving, because the people director Steve James is documenting here are bussed past beauty and wealth like this, and on to dilapidated schools and homes where aspiration just doesn’t seem appropriate.