Usually when I write a review, I have a clear opinion of it to provide the audience; whether it is good or not. Whether you should see or not see it. Today I’ve hit a dilemma, and that dilemma is “Amores Perros” (which translates to “Love’s a Bitch”, not “Love Dogs” as I originally thought). I am so shooken up and split up by it that I thought I’d try something new. I’m gonna tell you my two-sided opinion on it, and I want you as a reader to decide for yourselves whether or not you should see.
To See: “Amores Perros” was the first feature by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“21 Grams”, “Babel”) and it’s a hell of a debut film. Set in smoggy, sprawling, Mexico City it tells interconnecting stories that range from the rich to the homeless. Some characters include Octavio (Gael Garcia Bernal) whose in love with his psycho brother’s kind and gentle wife (Vanessa Bauche). Octavio wants to get away with her, but first he must raise money through dogfights (more to come on that) for the trip. There’s also a homeless man with strange motives behind a strange murder and a rich model whose been tainted by a car crash. “Amores Perros” contains heartbreak and beauty. The imagery is stunning; from spilled blood sizzling on a grill to that final image. It portrays themes of hope and hopelessness, along with the possibility of change and forgiveness in such a cruel world. It asks us to look beyond stereotypes and into people’s hearts. Inarritu’s debut film shows the prominance in Latin American filmmaking which has arised this decade and is perfect for those of you who love interconnecting stories like “Crash” (minus the preachiness). But what is that essential flaw in here?
…or Not to See: Each seperate story of Amores Perros contains dogs as an essential part of the story. I love dogs, to a huge degree. So, why am I so hesitant about the use of dogs here. It was those cringeworthy dogfights. Now, I’m not for censorship and I understand the director wasn’t condoning dogfighting. But I have a soft spot for animals (especially dogs) and watching them tear each other apart in bloody masses was just too depressing for me, and it’s possibly the thing that may prevent me from watching this movie again. So animal lovers, beware.
There are also many flaws in the story itself. For one thing, it’s a bit muddled. The lines between who is who can get a little confusing (follow those subtitles carefully, audience). Also, I was extremely bothered by how many characters who seemed so important at first were suddenly dropped and barely had anything to do with the end of the movie. Basically, the stories don’t tie together well. While with Inarritu’s masterpiece “Babel” not a single character from each story ever met each other, they all still reached some sort of conclusion at the end and you really felt a close connection between each story. Each characters purpose made sense. “Amores Perros” also lacked “Babel”‘s stunning epic sweep.
That is the Question: Readers, decide for yourselves whether or not you should see this movie. Filmophiles, dig in. PETA members, step back. And for those of you who have seen this movie, am I right? Or does my love for dogs make my opinion a little biased and unfair? And if you like this movie, it doesn’t necessarily make you Michael Vick.