Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: Alejandro spends his days in an adult world, running errands and convincing customers to come to his boss's garage instead of a competitor's garage. He's also learning how to paint and repair cars. Although conditions are harsh, his life is sprinkled with moments of happiness as he carves out a life for himself in the wasteland of the Iron Triangle. The brightest of these moments is the arrival of his sister Isamar, who moves in with him in the tiny room that he has found for them perched in the back of the shop where he works. Knowing that creating a better life for the two of them is their best bet at staying together, Alejandro finds her a job in a food van cooking and selling meals to the workers in the Iron Triangle. With a mixture of childlike naiveté and adult ambition, Alejandro begins obsessively saving his money to buy a mobile food van. The two dream about owning and running a small business of their own. But when their dream--as well as their loving relationship--is threatened by the hard truths of life, work, and one another, the children find themselves forced to make the kinds of difficult decisions that most adults never have to face. (Koch Lorber) Expand
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. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    The director has created a not-to-miss gem for the discriminating viewer.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Nathan Lee
    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.
  7. 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.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 1 out of 8
  1. SlaineE.
    Jul 12, 2008
    Wicked, deep, heavy, the reality that some kids live.
  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. Expand
  3. 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. Expand
  4. PaulK.
    Mar 30, 2008
    This movie is probably more like a 6.5, but I was feeling a little generous tonight. There's a lot to like about Chop Shop, especially the acting and grittiness of the cinematography. Ultimately though, I felt like the characters needed more development. Maybe more back story or more insight into the relationship of Alejandro and Isamar? Either way, I needed to care more about them and to understand more about the world in which they struggle to live in. The minimal feel of the movie works, but a more substantial ending would have been a nice counterbalance to the slow, introspective pace. Good, not great. Expand
  5. BenM.
    Aug 23, 2008
    Disappointing; being the top rated dvd in metacritic i expected something amazing. instead i felt like this was filmmaking for the sake of the filmmaker; not for the audience. Some great imagery, but generally pointless. Expand
  6. NickM.
    Apr 9, 2008
    Bahrani's portrayal of the Bronx and urban life is amazing, but there's too much lacking to make it a successful story. The actors feel young and palpably directed, and the plot lumps along until the end, missing on what should be its climax. A documentary treatment of the Bronx would have been as vivid, and come off with more authenticity in characters. No seriously. Expand
  7. RobertF.
    Aug 1, 2008
    Quite possibly... no it is the worst movie I've ever seen in my entire life. I kept watching just to see if something was going to happen. It was pointless from beginning to end. Nothing happens... don't waste your time on this one. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews