Title – Amores Perros (2000)
Director – Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
Cast – Gael García Bernal, Emilio Echevarría, Goya Toledo, Vanessa Bauche
Plot – The lives of a group of Mexican citizens are bounded together unknowingly through an horrific car crash.
“If you want to make God laugh… tell Him your plans”
Review by Eddie on 20/08/2020
Becoming one of the most well-regarded and unique filmmakers of the modern era, Mexican born director Alejandro G. Iñárritu started his career off in exemplary fashion with his Oscar nominated and critically praised multi-narrative drama Amores Perros, a hard-hitting experience that was a sign of things to come for the future Oscar winner.
Spanning three separate stories, all interconnected through an horrific car crash and a shared bond with a four legged friend, Amores Perros is both an unflinching look at love and life in Mexico, as our various flawed individuals (all of whom aren’t likable as such but remain humanistic in their behaviors and decision making) find their lives unraveling around them to various degrees.
Our first introduction to this world is through Gael García Bernal’s Octavia and his pursuit of Vanessa Bauche’s Susana, a pursuit that leads him into the dangerous and horrific world of dog fighting, as we are then welcomed into the world of Goya Toledo’s supermodel Valeria and then Emilio Echevarría vagrant El Chivo, a man more at home with dogs than his own kind.
There’s barely an ounce of respite from the unending relentlessness of Iñárritu’s examinations of the harsh realities of love and life in the troubled country of his birth, championed by Guillermo Arriaga’s rugged script (a partnership that would spawn 21 Grams and Babel also) and D.O.P Rodrigo Prieto’s documentary like filming style, giving Amores Perros a rough and raw veneer but also one that has been clearly designed for the purpose at hand.
Not many films before or since Iñárritu’s exercise in consistent bombardment of life’s troubles have managed to capture the frenetic nature of every day life and every day struggles, particularly south of the border, with the films first 60 minutes in particular hugely impressive, even more so when you consider this was the directors first feature film effort.
Filled with abundant energy and intrigue around Octavia and Susana’s potentially elopement, Amores Perros never truly reaches its early heights again as Valeria’s story strand in particular suffers from a sense of over indulgence and El Chivo’s more over the top story strand taking some time to get use to.
There’s no doubt there’s elements of each stories importance and emotional resonance but it’s a shame Amores Perros couldn’t maintain the early pace it sets, a facet Iñárritu was able to iron out with his future efforts, most notably in Birdman and The Revenant, films that managed to combine all the best elements of the director in one cohesive package.
Final Say –
A tough watch that set the tone for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s impressive and still growing in stature career, Amores Perros is rough around the edges and suffers from some middling moments in its middle and latter sections but when it punches, it punches hard.
4 chocolate treats out 5
Iñárritu is a very hit-and-miss director for me, but I really loved this movie.
An amazing debut! I agree though sometimes his films are a little “try-hard” but this is a real humanistic and confronting tale.
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