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Audio commentary with director Ramin Bahrani, director of photography Michael Simmonds and actor Alejandro Polanco
Rehearsal footage, Original Theatrical Trailer
Top Customer Reviews
"Chop Shop" shares several themes with Bahrani's earlier masterpiece, "Man Push Cart," but differs from that film in that no back story is presented to explain why or how these kids would up homeless -- they just are, and they simply deal with the situation as best they can. Like "Man Push Cart," the movie is full of tension and dread, but often defies viewer expectations, which are generally shaped by decades of cliched storytelling. Bahrani's films, however, are anything but cliched -- his cinema verite style creates an earthy, palpable reality, one that draws you in completely and rivets your attention. The dramas he presents are both so humble and so dire that they are utterly compelling, and make this a very fine film.Read more ›
The shop is owned by Rob, an actual chop shop owner, who generously provides Ale with shelter and money but exploits him for his hard, cheap labor. This is the landscape of Bahrani's film: a vicious, ugly stasis between abject poverty and comfortable living, a place where life is defined by the fruits of a day's labor--a place devoid of hope and dreams. Yet, Ale dares to dream.
Two words sum up this movie for me: sincere and touching.
At the heart of "Chop Shop" is the relationship between Alejandro and his slightly older sister, Isamar. We see them struggle through the trials of life, amid a wasteland section of Queens, New York, with each hardship enforcing a necessity to persevere, the constant struggle becoming their reason to exist. The specifics don't even matter--this is a film about people and life, the harsh background being merely that: a habitat for humans to act and react. There is not much else to provoke the inexplicably orphaned children, as the landscape and all prospects for the youths are bleak. Yet, they possess love and an undying will, a hope, to succeed, a richness paradoxically provided them by poverty. And for this they are willing to suffer themselves. They live for the day, for what will come of their suffering, with hopes of something else a seemingly distant yet powerful reason to live in the now. To make things happen.
So, at the film's end, there is no sadness. No anti-climax. And, also, no sentimental, Hollywood-ending to undermine all that's come before.Read more ›
The story is set near the auto slums of the Bronx, modern day. Two young siblings journey together in finding a way to make a living there. The boy, played INCREDIBLY by Alejandro Polanco works at one of the mechanic's shops on the strip, while his sister earns income in a much less glorious way. The film is simply enough, their story over a few days, there is no beginning or end perce. I was so impressed with AP's performance. Even in watching the rehearsal extras on the DVD, he appears to have the makings of a promising actor. This is his only film but I hope he continues.
This is not a film to watch if you are looking for something light with child actors, this is quite the opposite. I have never seen such adult themes and scenes in a film with actors this age. Judging once again by the amount of screens it played and no apparent advertising budget, another great film will get overlooked.
"Chop Shop" was cast with non-professional actors who are certainly convincing in their roles, though I didn't find them natural in every scene. This is a loose narrative, and the miles of concrete, junk, and auto shops a stone's throw from Shea Stadium is a strong character in itself. I don't think that anyone actually lives in Willet's Point, and Ale and Isamar seem to be the only people who do in the movie. "Chop Shop" is an ambiguous sort of coming of age story, a slice of life of two capable young people on their own and without any means of support beyond their own hard work. Though Ale's plight is gut-wrenching at times, the optimism and dreams of this 12-year-old suffuse the film with hopefulness.
The DVD (Koch Lorber 2008): Bonus features include a theatrical trailer (3 min), 8 segments of rehearsals, training, and actors interacting, and a feature commentary by writer/director Ramin Bahrani, cinematographer Michael Simmonds, and actor Alejandro Polanco. The commentary is constant and eclectic.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very cool indie movie with rough surroundings in queens. hope to see more from alejandro.Published 12 months ago by edward sheehan
Those coming here from Rahmi's 'Man Push Cart' will be sitting again through a case study of how America is not all its cracked up to be. Read morePublished on September 25, 2013 by Dust
This is a good movie. Its sad in the fact that they are two kids fending for themselves and being taken advantage of by adults but its a good film. I recommend it!Published on March 29, 2013 by Patrice Farmer
this movie was so nice i actually love he very smart for his age even though he not in school and i love how he csn take vey good care of him and his older sister i like how they... Read morePublished on March 22, 2013 by tiffany john
Before I purchased this movie, I used to rent it at my local library on a bi-weekly basis until someone stole it(I guess someone liked it more than me). Read morePublished on December 17, 2011 by Thelma Talbert
Solid, well made, beautifully shot neo-realist film. A 12 year old boy, living on his own, works in an auto repair place, in the midst of Queen’s (New York) surreal ‘iron... Read morePublished on August 28, 2011 by K. Gordon
Chop Shop is a long way from Times Square, but, though well hidden from the New York of tourism and most films, it is as real or more so than those more camera-ready locations. Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by James Carragher