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Chop Shop 15 rating

Hopeful and heartbreaking second feature from the director of Man Push Cart.

Drama 2007 81 mins

Director: Ramin Bahrani



Chop Shop sees talented young writer-director Ramin Bahrani, who made his mark with multiple award-winner Man Push Cart, adding another chapter to his chronicle of life on America’s margins. This time the setting is a neighbourhood in Queens, NY known as the 'Iron Triangle', a jumble of auto repair shops and junkyards. It's an extraordinary looking place, with its rows of shacks and rubbish dumps, captured here in all its noise and chaos. Ironically, it sits in the shadow of Shea Stadium, site of so many American dreams. Like many of the immigrants and displaced people there, 12-year-old Alejandro hustles to earn a living, whilst looking out for his older but far less responsible sister. His own dreams of a better life for both of them are ambitious, but hard to fulfil when real life keeps getting in the way.

Working again with non-professional actors and shooting verité style bring a sense of immediacy and intimacy to Bahrani's sensitively realised film, hopeful and heartbreaking by turn.