In the moving and compelling documentary EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe asks this very question—about himself. After seeing his mother and stepfather struggle to make ends meet while living outside of Houston, Texas, Monroe decided to help them by robbing a bank with two friends. Returning to his neighborhood several years after the crime, Monroe creates an incredibly intimate and personal journey of reflection and forgiveness while examining lower class struggles, the desperation of a teen under pressure, and the emotional impact that rippled in the aftermath of that day. The people from the bank remember that day vividly, as he asks for their forgiveness 10 years after the act. EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL examines the intersections of economic inequality, poverty, race, and the importance of family in a very moving and insightful way. The film is executive produced by Monroe’s professor at NYU Film School Spike Lee and Jen Gatien, and the DP is the amazing newcomer Daniel Patterson. Director and subject Monroe joins us to talk about pursuing this very personal project and the journey he has taken to get to where he is today.
“Its images, its shape, its tone, and its implications make it a terrific movie, as well as the birth of an artist.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Raising significant questions about the psychological effects of poverty on young children, this unsettlingly direct stab at atonement feels genuine.” – Jeanette Catsoulis, New York Times
“Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe’s autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy.” – Alan Scherstuhl
“But the crisp confidence shown in so much of the film, as well as its all-too-rare moral intelligence, marks Evolution of a Criminal as a highly worthy debut from a filmmaker who hopefully has more stories to tell besides his own.” – Chris Barsanti, Film Journal International