All These Sons, a new documentary from Bing Liu and Joshua Altman, is likely to remind you of documentaries you’ve seen before, which is part of its simultaneously tragic and hopeful point.
Documentaries about gun violence in Chicago — the human toll and the people committed to trying to find solutions — are almost a cottage industry, and All These Sons plays as a follow-up to Steve James’ The Interrupters and as a parallel project to James’ recent City So Real, with the 2018 Jason Van Dyke trial featuring in each. It’s basically a sequel to Coodie and Chike’s Benji, one of the best early ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries.
These projects offer the disheartening reminder that conversations fixated on death tolls and police crackdowns have been going on for decades without a magical panacea appearing. At the same time, they’re offering exposure to people who are trying to find solutions and they put names and faces and stories to people who would want to be viewed as more than just statistics or cautionary tales.