Runtime: 2 hr 23 min
MPAA Rating: NC-17
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero, Vanessa Bauche, Jorge Salinas, Adriana Barraza, Gustavo Sánchez Parra
It's an energetic but sickening thrill ride of a movie.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
When a movie "opens" with an admonition that you can safely ignore the violence against animals since no animals were actually harmed during its production, you know that something is up. AMORES PERROS (LOVE'S A BITCH), an extremely disturbing Mexican film that received one of this year's Academy Award nominations for best foreign film, is a perfect picture for those who think that the violence in movies today is not intense enough.
Using a format similar to Steven Soderbergh's TRAFFIC, the movie relies on fast pacing and jump cuts to tell three overlapping and intersecting stories. Whereas TRAFFIC's central theme is drug trafficking, AMORES PERROS's common thread is graphic violence against dogs, featuring more cut-up, mutilated and gruesomely dead dogs that you've ever seen or will ever wish to see again. The level of violence is so gratuitous and so disgusting that I picked up my coat several times and started to walk out, something I almost never do.
The only thing that kept me in my seat -- other than hoping, incorrectly as it turns out, that the gore would diminish -- was that this is a well made film. Highly derivative of other works, the movie by director Alejandro González Iñárritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga started me thinking that perhaps their names were pseudonyms and that it was really a Steven Soderbergh and Quentin Tarantino collaboration.
Although the film contains cheating with a brother's wife, a horrible car accident and many acts of violence against humans, it is the dog fighting story at its core that you will never be able to get out of your head. Perhaps the "sport" of training dogs to maul and kill each other will be of interest to some, but I found it repulsive.
If you have a pet, if you've ever had a pet or if you're even thinking about getting a pet, this isn't the movie for you. Others may enjoy the director's technical proficiency and be able to ignore how derivative his work feels. It's an energetic but sickening thrill ride of a movie. It's also a cinematic low point. What's next? Hacking up babies as a way to provide theatrical thrills to those who have been anesthetized by lower levels of violence?
AMORES PERROS runs a long 2:23. It is not rated but would be NC-17 for graphic violence against humans and animals as well as for language, nudity and sex. The film would be acceptable for college students and older.