When a life of Crime begins in 1984, Rob Steffi, convicted of Newark, New Jersey, begins life as a thief. Rob commits all kinds of petty thefts he can handle. And sells the loot on the streets with his friend Freddie Rodriguez. Director John Alper asks off-camera questions. Aren’t you afraid of being found out? “I’ve always been scared,” said Robb with his trademark ironic smile.
“But it’s over the minimum wage and I have to eat”. Rob and Freddie also had to support their drug habits. Including Valium pills, cocaine, and heroin in 1984. A similar regime applies to Rob and Freddie’s friend, Deliris Vazquez. After graduating from college and public service, delirious became a drug addict and became prostitution to maintain his habit.
In 1988, Freddie was taking 20, 30 Valium tablets a day;
Until 1992 he served time in the Southern State Prison. Deliris is still addictive – she recognizes the dangers of the police. And AIDS but is seen using the profits from s*x work for filmmaking.
Rob was also imprisoned, and he and Freddie were released at the same time; Freddie admits he’s afraid to go home because he’ll be back in a cycle of use. The disaster, and arrest, while Rob complains to his probation officer that he can’t get a real job. Freddie also tested positive for HIV.
In 1994 Freddie was back in prison, this time for an armed robbery. And Alpert’s cameras caught Robb strewn across the street in front of an abandoned building that was catatonic from heroin. There were piles of rubble on the road, and it wasn’t just cracked and chipped bricks.
It’s already 2000, and Freddie will be away while Rob serves again at home. “Some people should be locked up, and not for a short time,” Rob told Alpert. “I think you’re a good candidate for that,” said the director, “because you really are going to die.”
The Life of Crime continues an unwavering portrayal of the lives of Rob, Freddie. And Deliris as they go in and out of prison, with and without heroin. And in times of stability and calm, marked by hope and bitterness continued.
After all, it was the early 2000s, and Freddie was running away from his probation staff, who used him again. “What can I do, John?” asked Freddie and asked Alpert’s camera. “It’s a matter of courage,” said the director. “The courage to surrender.” And when he finally did, Freddie sadly told P.O. That it would be a success story if he didn’t die in three years.
As part of Life of Crime:
Rob Steffi’s charisma, intelligence and natural talent are revealed. As is his penchant for petty Crime and his cyclical return to drugs and the streets.
Whether breaking up the group at a prison hairdresser or dealing with early release officers. Steffi has a natural empathy that becomes even more dejected as she plays with her life’s predicament. The dynamic Alpert emphasizes again and again in Crime.
“Around 1.3 million American population have died in all the wars in the United States. And more than 5 million Americans have died from substance abuse since filming began in 1984. The statement comes at the end of Life of Crime 1984-2020 and is a sad summary of the facts. The cycle of addiction, struggle for recovery.
The promise of straight and sadness returns to the needle again and again in Life of Crime. Every component of the cycle around Rob, Freddie, and Deliris develop and contract. And they always do the same tragic inevitability.
Access to his disposal at the age of 36:
Alpert was able to decipher the personalities of his central trio in a way. That no documentary with a narrower window could. And as we get to know him, when we witness his little victories. And the many tragedies of his addiction, we are carried away by every move he makes.
“This shit is unbearable,” Freddie said of heroin and the ghost’s grip on the people he took. And that chilling conclusion follows what we’ve learned about him and his comrades since Life of Crime began in 1984. It’s a strict watch. But there are gifts and sketches of three decades of human existence in his message.