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  •  REVIEW: AMORES PERROS



    Amores Perros

    To leash his own

    Men, women and dogs figure in three hard-hitting love stories that make up the Mexican import "Amores Perros."

    By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
    Offoffoff.com

    Octavio loves Susana. And he loves her baby too (he calls him Baldy).

      
    AMORES PERROS
    Directed by: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
    Written by: Guillermo Arriaga.
    Cast: Emilio Echevarria, Gael Garcia Bernal, Goya Toledo, Alvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Marco Perez, Rodrigo Murray, Humberto Busto, Gerardo Campbell, Rosa Maria Bianchi, Dunia Saldivar, Adriana Barraza, Jose Sefami, Lourdes Echevarria.
    In Spanish with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    "Come away with me," Octavio implores her, over and over. "You just don't get it, do you?"

    "You don't get it!" Susana snaps back.

    The problem is she's married to Octavio's brother, the brutish grocery-store clerk cum sometime bank robber, Ramiro, with whom Octavio shares a grim barrio existence. Love's a bitch.

    Daniel loves Valeria. "I love you," he whispers to the fragrance-touting supermodel on the phone as his wife lies in bed watching television, his two young daughters asleep in theirs. Soon Daniel and Valeria will be together, but not until a tragic accident cruelly re-evaluates their lives. Love's a bitch.

    El Chivo loves Maru. The former revolutionary turned hired assassin stalks the pretty young woman through the violent streets of Mexico City but he can never have her sympathies like before. Their relationship cannot be what he wants it to be. Love's a bitch.

    Amores Perros  
    In "Amores Perros" ("Love's a Bitch"), director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's blistering debut, these three stories of love — and dogs — intertwine faithfully, fascinatingly, fronted by a disturbing montage-laden reality similar to what Steven Soderbergh brought to "Traffic." The canine reference provides not only a catchy, Anglicized translation of the film's Spanish title but a strongly centered link to man's best friend.

    In the first story, Ramiro's mastiff gets loose and kills the champion of a local dog-fighting hoodlum. Seeing this as a way to make some extra pesos, Octavio enters Cofi into the ring, and into the whole bloody business. (Be forewarned: although the filmmakers are commendably restrained in their depiction of this illegal blood sport, the simulated scenes are still pretty hard to watch.)

    In the second story, Valeria's pampered Ritchie disappears under the floorboards of the plush apartment Daniel has procured for his superficial lover and proceeds to torment the frustrated Daniel, whose life is not turning out as planned.

    In the third story, El Chivo (The Goat, on account of his flowing white beard) lives life as a hitman bum, pushing a shopping cart through these dust-colored streets escorted by his loyal pack of mongrels, mutts, and strays.

    Nominated at this year's Oscars for Best Foreign-Language Film, the brutal, beautiful "Amores Perros" commands the attention from its very first frame. Gonzalez Inarritu has taken an original story by Guillermo Arriaga and fashioned it into a tale that is gritty, complex, and brimming with edgy performances (Gael Garc’a Bernal as Octavio is especially good as is El Chivo's Emilio Echevarria). Don't be discouraged by the two-and-a-half-hour running time; the minutes simply whip by.

    For all of its Tarrantino-esque violence — smashes, crashes, shootings, and stabbings (and, of course, violence towards dogs; not that Tarrantino went there) — "Amores Perros" emerges as a crackerjack, fast-moving film with a surprising underlying humanity: these men do what they do for love and for no other reason.

    You might question (and even balk at) their methods but, as unsettling as the film is, you cannot deny the purity of their motives.

    APRIL 17, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Amores Perros:

  • Amores Perros   from Fiona, Dec 29, 2001
  • love's a bitch   from vincent, Apr 1, 2002
  • Amores perros   from Blake McDonald, Apr 24, 2002
  • Re: Amores perros   from anon, Sep 23, 2002
  • What a great film   from barry, Nov 22, 2002
  • Amores Perros   from Devika, Dec 6, 2002
  • mexican power house   from Dorothea Sonstenes, Dec 15, 2002
  • Re: mexican power house   from sir Charles, Jan 2, 2004
  • Re: mexican power house   from Dorothea, Aug 12, 2004
  • chido   from danielcarrillo, Dec 16, 2003
  • Dogs Loves   from sir Charles, Jan 2, 2004
  • chido2   from daniel carrillo, Feb 2, 2005
  • this movie is hello thight   from david, Jun 2, 2005

  • Post a comment on "Amores Perros"