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Joy Road (2004)

A defense attorney in Detroit, desperate to leave his career behind, is begged by his sister to represent her boyfriend, the alleged leader of the city's most notorious gang, MVP.


Harry A. Davis

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Credited cast:
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Charles Blocker
N'Bushe Wright ... Nia
Obba Babatundé ... Dr. Howard Perkins
Melle Powers Melle Powers ... Kim Smalls
Kevin Jackson ... Raymond Kelly
Christian Mathis Christian Mathis ... Big Boy
Benjamin B. Smith ... Little Boy
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
LaDonna Alicia LaDonna Alicia ... Dominique
Yvette Araujo ... Charity Event Attendee
Jay Barry Jay Barry ... L.T. Stone (credit only)
Linda Boston ... Judge Davis
Carol Angela Davis Carol Angela Davis ... News Anchor
Michael Ellison ... Lieutenant Braun
Alecia Jai Fears ... Sweety
Billy Flames Billy Flames ... East Side Chris


The Joy Road Project consists of a movie and an App. The movie Joy Road is about an upwardly mobile lawyer who gets drawn into helping his sister but then finds himself a pawn in a conspiracy to pass laws that fill up prisons. Truth being stranger than fiction, we found the real life counterpart to our fictional conspiracy here in America. The prison industrial complex, Arizona immigration law and Wisconsin Union busting laws are but a few of its accomplishments. So, to promote the film, we designed an APP to allow people to have a voice against this vast conspiracy. Using social media, we hope to be a film project, encased in and released with software that both tells a story and provides the tools for activism. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What happens when the cost of success could be your life


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some bloody images, and nudity/sexual content


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site





Release Date:

21 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Joy Road See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR


See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

Gritty Urban Drama Just Misses the Mark
16 November 2013 | by DarylKMiddlebrookSee all my reviews

I wanted to like this movie for a number of reasons; first off, it was shot, and about, my hometown Detroit, Michigan, second it stars the delectable and underrated N'Bushe Wright. Unfortunately, despite a very gritty Motor City feel, the film fails to reel in the audience with it's characters, led by Wood Harris (The Wire, Remember the Titans), in a stoic performance. Harris plays Tony Smalls, a successful Detroit lawyer, primed to make the move to the more lucrative side of law practice, that is, until his sister Nia (Wright) recruits him to save her street thug boyfriend Big Boy, from a murder charge. What follows is a generally captivating journey through the seedy and corrupt world of Detroit politics and street crime. Director and Detroit native Harry A. Davis, manages to capture the natural ambiance and general "scariness" of inner-city Detroit. Where he, and the film falls short is in the unevenness of the story, and the general lack of character depth. We know that Tony and Nia, while brother and sister, were given unequal chances on making it out the hood, but we never get a pulse on just who they are. Why Tony and Nia are at odds, why Nia is so driven to "dangerous" guys like her boyfriend Big Boy (a strong performance by Christian Mathis). N'Bushe Wright gives another solid performance, but is highly misused. The film would have benefited from having her on the screen more, and developing her character more evenly. Kevin Jackson as Ray, Tony's investigator steals every scene he's in. The cinematography by David Phillips is at times surreal, but at some points seems overindulgent. Overall, the film is worth watching (for native Detroiters, it's a looking glass into the hood, the true hood), the political corruption is right out of the headlines of today's Detroit; however, it misses the mark as an action-drama, with a sluggish pace, and undefined characters.

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