36 of 1001 Movies: Amores Perros (2000)

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directs this dram about three lives that are intertwined by a tragic car accident that changes the course of their lives. A story is beautifully put together as we watch how love, loss, and acceptance are all put together. Without even knowing it these people will never be the same just because of how a swift encounter changed them. I’m sure if they did know each other they would all be very mad at the other person for the tragedies that befell them.

In Mexico City, there is Octavio, Valeria, and El Chivo. Though there are more character these seem to be the core ones that loop everyone together. Octavio is in love with his sister-in-law, who has an abusive husband. He determined to rescue her from that life, and recover his own by risking the danger of fleeing. Valeria has just moved forward in her relationship with Daniel. Daniel left his wife to be with her. Valeria loses her modeling career after an incident, and now her life seems to be spiraling out of control after the disappearance of her dog. Then lastly, there is El Chivo, a homeless man, who has obtained many stray dogs in his care. He witnesses the accident, and rescues a survivor.

This film isn’t for everyone. At times it is gruesomely violent. Between the car wreck violence, and watching dogs fight, it can leave you wanting to turn your head a lot. Another harsh aspect of the film for me was seeing how the women were treated. I would hate to be a woman growing up in poverty in Mexico City. The sister-in-law was treated badly by her husband, but I also found Octavio to be quite cruel to her in his own way too. I think he genuinely liked her, but he kept physically putting himself on her even after she resisted. It made it difficult for me to like his character.

If a woman wasn’t being abused, then she was going crazy like in Valeria’s case. There just wasn’t any good depiction of women in this movie for me. I did find Octavio, and Valeria to have the most interesting stories though. El Chivo was perhaps the most complex, and likable, but for some reason by the time he came on the screen I felt a tad bored. I think he was a smart guy, and I liked seeing that showcased, but perhaps I was just emotionally drained by the time he appeared. Amores Perros (Translated from Spanish to English is Love’s A Bitch) does depict Mexico City in a very graphic, brutal light though. I was emotionally involved in a lot of the character’s lives whether I liked it or not.

Amores Perros is a riveting film for much of the time I was watching. It has a gritty vibe to it. I wouldn’t ever want to visit Mexico City personally after seeing some of the things depicted in this film. Women have little to no respect, to survive your life is filled with violence, and you never know who will just be coming around the corner. It’s a good film, but not or the faint.

Rating 4 of 5.

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