Amores Perros

At last year’s Edinburgh Film Festival, this fiercely moving film was billed as ‘the Mexican Pulp Fiction’. Incredibly, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s debut feature not only lived up to its advance hype, it confidently surpassed it. With its driving energy, skilfully integrated soundtrack and grainy images of life on Mexico City’s sometimes brutal, always teeming streets, it proved to be the find of the festival.
Accidentally drawn into the world of illegal dog-fighting, teenager Octavio dreams of using his champion dog Cofi’s winnings to run off with his violent, abusive brother’s young wife and baby. Later, fleeing from some rival fight-dog owners, Octavio and his friend are involved in a road accident. Meanwhile, middle aged Daniel leaves his wife and children for a beautiful model, Valeria; but their connubial bliss is cut short by this same car accident, which leaves her wheelchair-bound. Arriving on the scene, a homeless man, known only as El Chivo (The Goat), rescues the injured dog from the back of Octavio’s battered car, wheeling the wounded canine away on a old trolley.
Where the Pulp Fiction comparison falls short is that it does not do justice to the fierce humanity that underpins Iñarritu’s beautiful, grainy visuals and Guillermo Arriaga Jordan’s multi-layered script. Compared to Tarantino’s cartoon version of criminal life, the Mexican actors’ create a world of everyday flesh-and-blood reality, drawing us into the emotional world of the all too human characters. Amid the chaos and noise of a city where poverty, violence, corruption and shattered dreams are a way of life, they survive with their lives, love and loyalty barely intact. Likewise, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto’s kinetic, often hand-held images put us right inside the action, his camera observing them with an unflinching but always sympathetic eye..
Mexico, 2000.
English subtitles.
Dolby digital stereo.
153 mins.

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