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The Interrupters have been talk of the movie critics circle all year – first because of its unmasked look into the reality of Chicago’s  underprivileged areas and the omnipresent violence, and the story of fearless interrupters jumping into the middle of erupting violent conflicts, risking their own health and life by doing so. Later, the film made the headlines by not getting shortlisted for the Oscar race for best documentary, a category most people only observe cursorily, but usually do not actually see the films listed. I am very often underwhelmed by documentaries: even highly praised ones, such as this year’s “Tabloid” or “Senna” (the latter also Oscar-snubbed, I seem to remember), tend to take an interesting story or message, and end up creating a format around it that I find exaggerated. You do not need 90 minutes and more to tell the story of “Tabloid”, or two hours for “The Interrupters”, or more than three for the DVD extended version of “Senna”. While I am impressed with the story told in The Interrupters, from a film perspective, it does not have much to offer. It feels like the newspaper clip from which a film maker should start to write a script, and create more dramatic suspension than real life usually can offer. I believe the more interesting documentaries are those that mix core facts with challenging imagery, such as the way Errol Morris  does it in his more interesting films like the McNamara portrait; another example this year was “TT3D”, a film about the least interesting thing in the world, a motorbike race, that managed to create images that were stunning, that built up a hero at its center, and that was lucky to have interesting things happening at appropriate times. All I can say about “The Interrupters” is that everybody should see it and learn from it – but life, not for the cinema.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_interrupters_2011/

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