Evolution of a Criminal

As a teenager, Darius Monroe robbed a bank to help his family. The honors student found himself facing 5 to 99 years in prison.

Evolution of a criminal 01
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
January 12, 2015
90 minutes
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival -Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2014 International Documentary Association (IDA)-Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award
  • Monroe darius filmmaker bio

    Darius Clark Monroe

    Darius Clark Monroe is an award-winning filmmaker and MFA graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He's a National Board of Review, HBO Short Film, and Urbanworld Best Screenplay award recipient. Most recently, Monroe was selected to the prestigious Screenwriters Colony, and chosen as a fellow at the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive. His first feature film, the autobiographical documentary Evolution of a Criminal was a recipient of an Austin Film Society Grant, Spike Lee Production Fellowship, Warner Bros. Film Award, Cinereach Grant, King Finishing Award, Tribeca All Access Participant, and a selectee of the IFP Documentary Lab.

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    The Film

    How does a 16-year-old evolve into a bank robber?

    In Evolution of a Criminal, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe explores what led him to pull a heist as a teenager in Texas, and returns to the scene of the crime. By interviewing family members, close friends, and mentors, we learn about his transformation from a joyous childhood to the moment he realized the severity of his family’s financial problems, and how their struggles changed his outlook on his own life.

    Returning to his neighborhood several years after the crime, Monroe creates an incredibly intimate and personal journey of reflection and forgiveness while beautifully examining lower class struggles, the desperation of a teen under pressure, and the emotional impact that rippled in the aftermath of that day.