What drives a young, 16-year-old honor student to commit robbery, and how can he repent once the deed is done?
Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe explores these complicated questions in his introspective documentary film “Evolution of A Criminal,” which chronicles the events of his own troubled past.
Monroe, whose 1997 robbery led to a five-year prison sentence, told host HuffPost Live host Ricky Camilleri that his decision to revisit his story was more than just a quest for atonement on a personal level.
“We don’t really talk about how complex individuals are,” he said. “And so, even though I went to apologize and it may have seemed [that], oh, this about just me, I think it was clear to the individuals who I apologized to that I was genuine. This wasn’t some self-serving thing.”
As Monroe explained, the filmmaking experience also proved therapeutic for the witnesses of the crime, some of whom were interviewed for the film.
“What was remarkable was that they also needed to unburden themselves of the situation,” he said. “People wanted to share their side of the experience. And it was really eye-opening to hear what the robbery was for them. What it was like to be on the other side.”
Monroe said he had never considered the “emotional weight” and “psychological toll” his robbery had on the patrons at the bank on the day of the heist. Listening to their stories ultimately gave Monroe a new perspective from which to grapple with his crime.
“Hearing people talk about [the fear of] not saying goodbye to their loved ones, thinking about their life being over, that's a heavy thing, and its not some easy thing to do,” he said. “It was something that was weighing on me, and I wanted to have this conversation.”
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about Darius Clark Monroe’s powerful film here.
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