The Interrupters

Did You Get the Message?

Summary of the Documentary:

Mainly filmed in the south side of Chicago, this movie focuses on an anti-violence group called CeaseFire. Members of this group are shown trying to intervene and change the lives of those affected by the gang and gun violence that plagues the south side of Chicago. The CeaseFire members show how also being former gang members has affected their personal lives as well as the others around them.


Even though some may think that this film glorified the violence, this documentary achieved its purpose in explaining the dangers of violence in the city of Chicago.

CeaseFire Members

How did it achieve its purpose?

Shows how it can hurt many people and those around them.

Death is a plague that the people of Chicago have to deal with more often than any other city. During the documentary, Ameena attended the funeral of a young man named Duke who was shot and killed. Many of the young man's family and friends attended, including his girlfriend and it was clear to see how much it had affect her emotionally. Duke, however, was just one young man out of many that had been taken too early due to the violence that rocks the city. Ameena calls on the younger people that attended the funeral to help end the violence because it could be one of them in Duke's place sooner or later.
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shows how gang violence is the biggest problem.

Many of the young people that were shown in the film were in some way connected or involved with a gang directly or through a family member. Gang affiliation or gang conflict is sometimes unavoidable in some neighborhoods in Chicago. Eddie Bocanegra is another of the CeaseFire members. He would go to schools and try to have some part in teaching the children about helping to stop the violence but often times the schools wouldn't let him because "a lot of them didn't want to acknowledge that there was issues in the schools". Eddie also helps in an art program that allows young children to express themselves about how they feel about the gang violence. One young girl talked about how her neighbors often get in loud arguments that lead to gunfire and she began to cry. The film managed to show how no one can really get away from the violence. Many others have said that this film glorified the violence in Chicago but with scenes like this in the film, it shows the complete opposite. There is nothing glorious about a young girl being terrified to go outside to just play.
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shows how using non violence can help make a difference.

One of the main themes in this film was non violence and I think that is the most important thing that CeaseFire practices with all of their interventions. Cobe is seen going to an old friends house, one friend who was in jail with him, who was asking for help because his mother and brother were arrested by the police for no reason according to "Flamo". Flamo goes on to say that he was going to get back at the person who had told on his family but Cobe told him it was best not to make the situation worse than it already was. Days go by and Cobe goes out again to reach out and talk with Flamo. Flamo reveals that a couple of days ago, there was a conflict outside of his house that he had resolve using non violence, just like Cobe had told him before. Coming from someone that just had their family arrested and was out looking for someone to blame for the situation, the use of non violence was an amazing example of how the CeaseFire members make a lasting impact on the people of Chicago which is what the film was trying to do.
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My overall feeling on the film was a sense of sadness and the need to help make more of a difference for people. I was very moved by many of the scenes in the film, many of them were just scenes of the loved ones crying over their loss because I could relate to losing someone to gang violence and it really hit home to see those people mourning their loss. It also made me want to do more for people who struggle with the issues of gang violence because the idea of fighting over senseless actions is useless and there is no need for people losing their lives over it. This film has given me a new sense of direction to what I want to do with my future career because to see young children be afraid of going outside and losing their brother or other family member has made a great impact on me.
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