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In a serious car accident in the middle of Mexico City, three lives (and their connections) collide. Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a teenager whose dog, Cofi, gets him embroiled in illegal dog fighting. He wants to run away with his brother’s wife, Susana (Vanessa Bauche). He is driving the car, fleeing enemies from the dog fight with Cofi in the backseat, when the accident happens. Daniel (Alvaro Guerrero) is a 42 year old married man with a family who falls in love with a beautiful model, Valeria (Goya Toledo) and it is on the day he moves in with her that Valeria is involved in the car accident. El Chivo (Emilio Echevarria) is one of the pedestrians on the spot at the time of the crash, an ex communist and ex-prisoner now a dishevelled tramp – and part time assassin. He saves the badly wounded Cofi, takes him home (to join his other dogs) and nurses him back to life. For each of these characters, love is a very complex thing, offering much more than simple joy. 

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A high octane, high voltage film that retains its high octane rating to the very end of its 147 minute running time. That’s an achievement in itself, but there is more. Not just stake knives, either, because what’s at stake is life itself. Not the predictable movie variety, where the good guy fights for his life and the bad guy always fumbles. In this film, good and bad are less easily defined, and everyday life is more akin to our own – or at least the emotional and physical problems are. Don’t try and find meaning or moral closure in Amores Perros, at least not in the standard way that many American films offer those pay-offs. There are no simple solutions or ready escapes. People are self-contradictory and sometimes likeable, sometimes irritating, sometimes vile. 

Tragedy and harmony live side by side, shit happens and love’s a bitch. Interlocking his three characters in the urban chaos of Mexico City – the world’s most populous place), writer Guillermo Arriaga Jordan, sets out on an ambitious screenplay “to write a script that could convey the pain, confusion, sadness, joy, ruin and hope of life itself.” Well, he comes pretty close. It’s a film whose brilliance is reflected in the seamless execution. You hardly notice the acting because it isn’t ‘acting’. You hardly notice the design because it’s tangibly real and you hardly notice the score (unless you’re tuned into soundtracks) because it vibrates at the same intensity as the images. There is no happy ending, although some would say the ending is tinged with hope for new beginnings, but even so, it is shot across blackened, charred earth, looking into a distant empty industrial skyline. . . And yet, you will walk away reeling from the jolt to your senses, and perhaps Jordan’s words will echo in your ear. It’s the whole damn thing.

The behind the scenes feature offers interview grabs (subtitled) from cast and crew, with director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who throws in arresting lines, like: “it’s a film that can move people’s livers…stomachs…” It’s not hugely enlightening, but captures the devotion and passion that went into its making.

Behind the scenes is a compilation (without subtitles) of B roll and interview grabs. 

More interesting than either of these features, perhaps, are the three music clips of songs from the film. And the film is more interesting than all the extras combined.

Published October 3, 2002

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CAST: Emilio Echevarría, Gaël García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Alvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas

DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu

RUNNING TIME: 147 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; behind the scenes; the making of press kit; music videos; trailer; motion menu;


DVD RELEASE: March 19, 2002

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