Review: Amores Perros

This pumped telenovela is very much the film Kieślowski would have made had he followed Buñuel’s lead and voyaged to Mexico.

Amores Perros

What with the self-conscious aesthetic bravado and fractured timeline, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first feature, Amores Perros, has been understandably compared to Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, but González Iñárritu seems to owe more to the kitchen-sink realism of Kiewslowski’s Decalogue. None of the film’s three tales are inspired by actual commandments, but they may as well be given all the bibilical undertones (the story of Cain and Abel comes to mind during the second story). Man and dog are the same here, and both are as ravenous and testosterone-choked as the director’s persuasive aesthetic. Octavio (Gael García Bernal) is in love with his sister-in-law Susana (Vanessa Bauche), dreaming of whisking her away from his brother Ramiro (Marco Pérez), who beats Susana and frightens their young child; El Chivo (Emilio Echevarría), a homeless, part-time hitman who stalks the daughter who thinks he’s dead, lives in a grimy, abandoned section of Mexico City with a community of sweet-natured dogs (emotional surrogates); Daniel (Álvaro Guerrero), a top magazine editor, leaves his wife in order to start a new life with supermodel Valeria (Goya Toledo), who realizes she has nothing to go on but her looks when her leg is amputated after a horrible car accident. González Iñárritu’s style is pure magazine-chic, but it’s an engrossing vision—embittered, ironic and allusive. Give me the less pat Los Olvidados instead, but this pumped telenovela is very much the film Kieślowski would have made had he followed Buñuel’s lead and voyaged to Mexico.

Score: 
 Cast: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Marco Pérez, Rodrigo Murray, Humbero Busto  Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu  Screenwriter: Guillermo Arriaga  Distributor: Lions Gate Films  Running Time: 154 min  Rating: R  Year: 2000  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Ed Gonzalez

Ed Gonzalez is the co-founder of Slant Magazine. His writing has also appeared in The Village Voice and The Los Angeles Times. He’s a member of the New York Film Critics Circle, the Critics Choice Association, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.

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