Sunday, August 11, 2013
The Interrupters, with interruptions
On Thursday I told you about a movie I watched at home without a single pause. Straight through, two hours and five minutes, start to finish. (It was Philadelphia.)
Today I watched another sad movie with hard truths about a different big city, which I also gave a five (out of five)-star rating.
The difference was, I had to pause The Interrupters about 37 times.
Didn't seem to make a difference in how much I loved it, though.
See, I've got quite the challenge these last ten days in the United States before moving to Australia. I have to keep up with my movies, especially since I write a weekly series for another blog that involves one real-time viewing per week. Yet I also have to keep up with, you know, going through every single thing that I own and moving out of my house.
So The Interrupters, the movie I'm watching this week for that other blog series, was what I watched as I rolled my coins into coin sleeves, went through the mail, sorted through our recipes, and prepared my son's crib to be bought by someone from Craigslist (whose arrival I am awaiting as I type this).
You might wonder how a person could properly absorb a movie while doing all these other things.
Well, for one, documentaries are a bit easier than fiction films. In your typical documentary, there's a lot of talking. The images are certainly important as well, but I think it's most important to hear what they're talking about than to see every little thing. And don't worry, I saw plenty of the images of The Interrupters. Some of which I wouldn't have liked to have seen. (How about a shot gang member whose feces are easily visible through his colostomy bag?)
Secondly, well ... I had no choice.
But it didn't make a difference in what I took away from Steve James' documentary about violence on the south side of Chicago, and the former gang members (called violence interrupters, or interrupters for short) who try to intervene at a crisis point to prevent tempers from boiling over into actions that can't be taken back.
Wow, what a movie. James' commitment to documenting this stuff, intimate and unfettered, is nothing short of spectacular, as is the access he's able to get. I can imagine the last thing many of the people who appear in this movie want is a camera in their face, yet that camera was allowed to look at them without blinking. And what a clear-eyed vision he captured of this problem, and the people who are trying to solve it. There are successes, there are failures, their are deaths, there are new leases on life. And it's all there for us to consume, floored as we watch.
Even if I did have to pause it an average of once every three minutes.