Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. 100
    Now we have an American film with the raw power of “City of God” or “Pixote,” a film that does something unexpected, and inspired, and brave.
  2. Beautifully observed, and beautifully acted by the novice thespian Polanco (culled from a New York City public school), Chop Shop is at once a heartbreaker and a story of hope and the American Dream.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Bahrani's willingness to expose the shameful reality of third-world conditions in the Land of Plenty while telling a crackling good story marks him as a filmmaker as important as he is accessible.
  4. 90
    Announces the arrival of a director radically out of step with the dominant conventions of American moviemaking, one who blends a social-realist vision and a passion for cinematic poetry.
  5. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    The director has created a not-to-miss gem for the discriminating viewer.
  6. Small but sure, the film is like Alejandro himself: quick on its feet, attuned to a harsh life’s hardships and possibilities.
  7. Ale's community is like a band of pirates - collegial, bickering, larcenous and supportive - and his life within it is both heartening and heartbreaking.
  8. 88
    Everything about Chop Shop is modest - the movie's scale, the characters' ambitions. Another director might have tried to nudge the film's grim detours toward tragedy. And that might have worked, too. But Bahrani is a refreshingly deceptive director in that sense.
  9. 83
    It's like a New York City equivalent of a Third World bazaar: It hums with nerviness and cunning. And this movie presents a tingling vision of a working neighborhood after hours. Night falls in Chop Shop like a comfort, a cloak or a shroud.
  10. 83
    Though Chop Shop is an American film, it feels more like an Iranian movie or the Dardenne Brothers’ "Rosetta"; Bahrani introduces something like a plot point in the late-going, but he mostly focuses, to riveting effect, on how his young hero hustles and claws through everyday life.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. Dec 31, 2013
    The sad life of these orphan siblings is heartbreaking. From the same director who gave us Goodbye Solo, this film is a strong dose of realism. A very beautiful, yet tragic film. Full Review »
  2. MatthewF.
    Mar 5, 2009
    Absolutely damn brilliant. Know going in, this isn't "Slumdog Millionaire" , this is a cold dose of ice water thrown in your face abut America. IT's spare, gritty and realistic.It's also beautiful. There isn't a giant plot to hang a bunch of phony drama on , just the drama of unrelenting everyday life. Brilliant. Full Review »
  3. JohnC.
    Sep 23, 2008
    Listen. It doesn't have a exact hollywood narrative or feel, but that shouldn't be a knock against the film. There are countless ways to tell a story, this one has more compassion for it's young characters then anything coming from a big studio. It's not perfect but I guarantee the subject and the world are riveting. IF we can feel for 3d robots/cars, why not for this youngster? Full Review »