There’s a large semblance between Chop Shop and El Norte, a shared plotline in which brother and sister team up in the name of finding the means to a better life, meanwhile accepting jobs most would be ashamed to take, becoming slaves to money and risking their lives for what might very well end up being a pipe dream.

Siblings Alejandro and Isamar are orphans taking refuge at work, hustling long hours in an industrial scrap of Queens dubbed the “Iron Triangle.” Ale calls cars at a chop shop and stashes cash with his eyes on a better business, and Isamar works in a food van while hiding a life of prostitution. With his piercing eyes and her tough attitude, it’s easy to forget that the two are respectively 12 and 16-years old, only making apparent their youth and naivete when speaking and hinting at fear.

Blurring the division between fictional story and documentary, Chop Shop does an excellent job of remaining unbiased between worlds of criminal activity and survival, uncovering allies in those who seem untrustworthy, and showing that not every promise carries a happy ending.

Grade: A

Chop Shop releases in select theaters May 30.