Dazzling debut

 

Amores Perros (2001) Review 5
Director:Alejandro Iñárritu,
Starring:Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche
Length:153 minutes
Rated:R

 

As someone unfamiliar with the Mexican film scene, “Amores Perros” (“Love’s a Bitch”) comes as a bit of a shock. It is a film as ambitious, violent and intense as “Pulp Fiction” was when it hit theaters in 1994, and all from a director making his film debut.

The unique structure of the film intersects multiple characters and three distinct stories, eventually colliding together in a Mexico City car crash. The stories are an intricate look at the polar worlds of Mexico: one of underclass life, where underground dog-fighting, bank robbing, and marital abuse are a simple and harsh reality of life; and the other a world of glamour and glitz, where magazine editors, actors, and models mingle together in their life of privilege, separated from their stark and gritty counterparts by high-rise apartments and office spaces. Bridging the gap between the two is a man who has lived in both worlds, first as an affluent and happily married member of Mexican society, and then as a social outcast, living in near poverty working as a ruthless and calculating hit man.

The chaotic jumps in time and narratives are engrossing but sometimes unfocused, all brought together by the seemingly inconsequential destiny of a dog named Cofi. The performances are fantastic, headlined by the infectiously charismatic portrayal of El Chivo, the hitman, played by Emilio Echevarría. By the end of “Amores Perros”, we are left with a powerful story of love, passion and salvation, and a compelling look at the brutal essence of the human spirit. It is not — as many critics have extolled – a masterpiece, but rather an unfailingly moving expression of modern Mexican culture.