Director: Harry Davis
Screenwriters: Harry Davis, Greg Pak

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Detroit, Michigan, the most crime-ridden city in the United States, is home to gang activities approaching the level of urban warfare. Tony Smalls (Wood Harris), a public defender who grew up in the "hood," finds himself torn between two worlds and decides to leave behind his career as an attorney. That is, until he is sucked into defending his sister's boyfriend Bigboy (Christian Mathis), the reputed leader of the notorious gang MVP.

Directed with gritty authenticity by Harry Davis from an extraordinary screenplay by Greg Pak, MVP is a crime story that tweaks the genre by daring to question who really controls these dangerous streets. It is a brilliantly crafted work that tracks how Tony's choices affect his relationships with his wife (Melle Powers) and sister (N'Bushe Wright), then punctuates Tony's story with the vicious pattern of death and revenge that is a way of life in these surroundings.

With indelible performances led by Wood Harris and a breakout turn from N'Bushe Wright, MVP packs a wallop, leaving Davis's mark as a consummate filmmaker with a distinctive cinematic voice.

— David Courier

Screening Details

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