Detroit Unleaded | Chicago Reader

Detroit Unleaded

Shot on the rough east side of Detroit, this sprightly romantic comedy offers a glimpse of family, love, and labor through the eyes of young Arab-Americans. The young protagonist (E.J. Assi) works behind a pane of bulletproof glass in a grungy gas station and dreams of a better life, which seems to beckon when he meets and falls for his friend's sister (Nada Shouhayib). Cast largely with local first-time actors, the film is strikingly authentic and has the ragtag charm of a community art project. Director Rola Nashef fortifies her themes of retail malaise and race relations by referencing Clerks and Do the Right Thing; they're apt touchstones, but the film lacks a forthright authorial voice of its own.

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