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Amores Perros / Love's A Bitch (R)
Lions Gate Films Inc.
Official Site
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Producer: Francisco Gonzalez Compean,
Martha Sosa Elizondo
Written by: Guillermo Arriaga
Cast: Vanessa Bauche (Susana), Gael Garcia Bernal (Octavio), Emilio Echevarria (El Chivo), Alvaro Guerrero (Daniel), Marco Perez (Ramiro), Gustavo Sanchez Parra (Jarocho), Jorge Salinas (Luis Miranda Solares), Goya Toledo (Valeria)

Rating: out of 5

Delving into the sullied confines of Mexico City and the sunken caverns of the heart, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, in his directorial debut, presents a three-cornered story that radiates from a common hub. Themes of avarice and canines weave the three separate plots together.

Starting the plot spinning, Octavio (Bernal) and his buddy flee in their car with a bleeding dog in the back seat. Evading their pursuers at first, the speeding car soon careens into another car at a traffic light. After this key event that ties all three stories together, the first tale begins. Octavio lusts after his brother Ramiro's (Perez) mistreated wife Susana (Bauche). Wishing to free Susana from the violent tyranny of Ramiro and run away with her, Octavio begins to fight his dog Cofi for money. With greed clouding his eyes, the tables turn for Octavio. The loss of the canine in this story symbolizes Octavio's blindness of love and the loss of Susana.

The second and weakest story involves a wealthy man, Daniel (Guerrero) who leaves his wife and children to pursue his affair with Valeria (Toledo), a supermodel. Tying into the hub of the movie, Valeria drives the vehicle hit by Octavio's car. In the crash, the car crushes Valeria's leg, leaving her to rely on the mobility of a wheel chair. Upon returning home, her lap dog Richie disappears in a hole in the floor, becoming lost for almost the entire mini-plot. Annoyance sets in early as Valeria kept snapping at Daniel to tear up the entire floor to find her precious pooch. The trapped dog echoes the loss of freedom and mobility Valeria feels. The cruel sense of irony pervades the plot since Daniel left his wife for this beautiful model who ultimately becomes crippled.

The final episode focuses on a homeless assassin, El Chivo (Echevarria) who has been estranged from his daughter. He ties into the frame episode by saving the bloody dog from Octavio's back seat to add him to his assorted collection of mutts. Finding the dog renews his hope of finding and reuniting with his daughter. On his last hit he decides to turn the tables on his victim and his client so that they fight out the disagreement themselves. Although a little too lengthy for a vignette, the themes in this section coalesced nicely.

All in all Inarritu maintains a gritty realistic tone throughout the piece. Critically likened to Tarantino's PULP FICTION, AMORES PERROS did use a similar structure, but the new twist of themes and animal characters gave the film a freshness intimated by its title.

-Jennifer Prestigiacomo

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

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