Amores Perros
"This film is - sorry, but it has to be said - the dog's bollocks."

Amores Perros - the title is translated as "Love's a Bitch" - opens with a furious car chase. As it turns out, the resultant crash is the point where the film's three stories interconnect.

In the first, a street punk discovers that his dog has a talent for fighting after it kills a local gangster's champion pitbull. This promises to be his ticket out of the slums, along with his girlfriend - who also happens to be his brother's wife...

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In the second, a young model struggling to come to terms with a near-fatal car accident loses her dog when it falls into a hole in the floorboards and won't come out...

In the third, a derelict - an intellectual who left his family to become a guerillla fighter and now lives with a pack of stray dogs - is recruited to perform an assassination...

A film with scenes of dog fighting is always likely to have a bad time in our "nation of animal lovers". One can imagine the Daily Mail just waiting to unleash some rabid newshounds. That "no animals were harmed in the making of this film" probably won't matter to them. No, they'll just claim the moral high ground and say that this Mexican film could only appeal to "sick" and "twisted" minds.

If this happens it will be a shame - just watch as the audience composition shifts to help confirm what the so-called moralists say.

So, when watching Amores Perros, try to bracket out all the dog fighting/animal cruelty stuff from your mind and instead concentrate on what is, by any standards, a truly exceptional film.

Similarly, though its three intertwined tales - and sometimes the situations - might immediately lead you to think "Mexican Pulp Fiction" this comparison would do a disservice to Amores Perros. The film is THAT GOOD.

Director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga Jordan create real emotional impact out of situations where a Tarantino would have demonstrated only a fanboy's knowledge of pop and film culture. In this, and its edgy and fluid hand-held camera work the film is more reminiscent of a Wong Kar Wai.

The performances are superlative. Particularly impressive are the lead actors playing "the young and the damned" of story one - one can easily imagine how false they could have seemed - and the woman playing the model in the second story.

This film is - sorry, but it has to be said - the dog's bollocks. Quite possibly the best two and a half hours you'll spend in the cinema this year.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Interlinking stories, connected by a car crash and dogs.
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Read more Amores Perros reviews:

Nicola Osborne ****
Angus Wolfe Murray ****

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Writer: Guillermo Arriaga Jordan

Starring: Emilio Echevarria, Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo, Alvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Rodrigo Murray Prisant

Year: 1999

Runtime: 153 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Mexico


EIFF 2000

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