Allow me to be frank: Chop Shop is a movie that makes neorealism look like Hollywood. Dwelling in gutters and dilapidated auto centers, ‘dirty’ becomes an aesthetic preference that suits the hard knock life bestowed upon Alejandro and his sister. Bahrani either shared a similar lifestyle growing up or he has an incredible eye for observation because I’ve seen kids just like this selling bootleg DVDs and working odd temp jobs just to make quick cash. For kids like this, it’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of desperation and day-to-day survival. But rather than focus on despair and depression, the central character is determined and optimistic about his goal – and that made all the difference by the time it ended. And the ending was pitch perfect.