Chop Shop (Bahrani, 2008)

Chop Shop rehashes many of the same themes and motifs as Bahrani’s previously released Man Push Cart, but without that film’s lyricism and poignancy. There’s a lot to admire about Chop Shop, especially Bahrani’s use of ellipses to construct the beguiling adult world around his street urchin protagonist. However, the film almost completely disavows a narrative arc, resulting in a tepid docudrama posing as a revealing slice of indie neorealism. In Chop Shop, storytelling takes a backseat to the static “verite” of survival.

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