Metascore
83

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. 75
    Bahrani's unsentimental film is perhaps most interesting as a look at a colorful, little-known world that has recently been targeted for urban renewal.
  3. As he did in his striking 2005 first feature film, "Man Push Cart," about a Pakistani street vendor in New York, perceptive indie filmmaker Ramin Bahrani looks at what others overlook and finds drama in everyday details.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    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.
  7. Bahrani’s concentration is close to supernatural as he tracks the young, prepubescent Ale (Alejandro Polanco) from job to soul-numbing job, some legal, some extralegal, to the point where you’re forced to suspend altogether your moral judgments and watch with a mixture of pain and awe.
  8. 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.
  9. 80
    In this littered environment there's no such thing as trash, only salvage, and the biggest threat to the siblings' humanity is a creeping tendency to think of themselves as commodities as well.
  10. Small but sure, the film is like Alejandro himself: quick on its feet, attuned to a harsh life’s hardships and possibilities.
  11. 80
    There is nonetheless a lyricism at its heart, an unsentimental, soulful appreciation of the grace that resides in even the meanest struggle for survival.
  12. Chop Shop"exudes a sense of joyousness amid harshness. Bahrani celebrates those who never give up, no matter how badly their dreams are shattered.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Ultimately, the pic will be noted and remembered not for any inherent drama or analysis but for its simply having so thoroughly documented a strange place most people have never seen and never knew existed.
  14. Ale's community is like a band of pirates - collegial, bickering, larcenous and supportive - and his life within it is both heartening and heartbreaking.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani has followed up his well-received Man Push Cart with another penetrating portrait of life on the outskirts of New York.
  18. It is ironic that the core audience for Chop Shop is that very crowd that has recently taken steps to redevelop the Iron Triangle into something more Manhattan-friendly.
  19. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    90
    The director has created a not-to-miss gem for the discriminating viewer.
  20. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    80
    Authentic as all this feels (and smells, and tastes), Chop Shop gives off a heightened sense of reality, a faintly idealized atmosphere akin to the Lower East Side milieu of "Raising Victor Vargas," a close relative in the New York branch of neo-neorealism.
User Score
7.6

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
    9
    The sad life of these orphan siblings is heartbreaking. From the same director who gave us Goodbye Solo, this film is a strong dose ofThe 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
    9
    Absolutely damn brilliant. Know going in, this isn't "Slumdog Millionaire" , this is a cold dose of ice water thrown in your face abut 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
    8
    Listen. It doesn't have a exact hollywood narrative or feel, but that shouldn't be a knock against the film. There are countless 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 »