Amores Perros

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Emilio Echevarria, Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo,
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

AMORES PERROS, translated as Love’s A Bitch or Love’s A Dog, is more than just taking a familiar form of storytelling displayed in movies such as PULP FICTION, GO or even SHORT CUTS, it dares to give us a snap shot of life in Mexico City.

Beginning with a fatal car accident, three very different lives are influenced by this event and dogs. The movie starts with Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal) as he tries to get away from a gang who are bent on killing him and his fatally injured dog, Cofi.

Flashback to the events leading up to this and we find Octavio still living at home with his mother, his older brother Ramiro (Marco Perez) and his brother’s wife Susana (Vanessa Bauche), who he has feelings for. Octavio’s been trying his best to convince her to leave his brother and for them to run away together, but one of the obstacles is lack of money. His ticket to making a better life for both of them comes along when Octavio’s dog is attacked and triumphs over a prized pit bull dog, whose owner Jarocho (Gustavo Sanchez Parra) regularly enters his prized dog on the fight circuits. Octavio decides to put his own dog forward for these dogfights and after winning fight after fight, he passes his winnings on to Susana. Eventually Jarocho gets his revenge on Octavio and while trying to get away, Octavio collides with another car driven by a model.

The second tale revolves around Daniel (Alvaro Guerrero) just as he is about to leave his wife and two young daughters for the beautiful model Valeria (Goya Toledo). After the car accident Valeria is wheelchair bound with a broken leg and contemplating what to do next with her life, while a billboard featuring her in a perfume advert is a constant reminder that things will never be the same again. Daniel is split as to whether he should stay to support Valeria through her injury or go back to his wife. One day while playing fetch the ball with her dog, Lhasa, Valeria throws the ball accidentally into a hole in the floorboard of her apartment. Lhasa dutiful follows the ball but does not reappear again. Both Daniel and Valeria try to do what they can to coax the dog back but are unsuccessful. The sound of the dog whimpering during the night just about drives Daniel nuts and Valeria gets more frantic as she accuses Daniel for not caring or doing enough for both herself and Lhasa. One will wonder whether this story is sometimes bordering on farce because just as you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse, it surprisingly does.

During the first two stories we get a glimpse of an old street bum, El Chivo (Emilio Echevarria), shuffling through the streets with a shopping trolley and a horde of dogs. Appearances can be deceiving and this is certainly true for El Chivo, as he turns out to be a hired hit man. Staking out his next hit, he comes across the car accident and doing his best to help and steal what he can, he comes across Octavio’s badly injured dog Cofi. He takes the dog back home to his base and nurses the dog back to health. Unfortunately for El Chivo’s dogs, Cofi repays him back in the most horrific way.

Just imagine if Quentin Tarantino arrived on the scene and his first movie was PULP FICTION. This is exactly how good this movie is and at times it’s like viewing what everyday life is like in Mexico City. Already causing controversy due to the realistic dogfight scenes, there was a possibility that the UK censors may have cut them. Just as well they didn’t because the scenes are an integral part of the movie. The emotions displayed are not your typical false over sentimental pap that Hollywood loves to churn out, but are as real as it gets, and this actually sucks you into the movie.

Miss this movie if you dare.

6 out of 6 stars

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