amores perros - the amazing 2000 debut film from Alejandro González Iñárritu

Alejandro González Iñárritu

  • Born:  1963
  • Rank:  #84
  • Score:  525.00
  • Nominations:  Oscar  /  DGA  /  BAFTA  /  Golden Globe
  • Feature Films:  4
  • Best:  Amores Perros
  • Worst:  Babel

Feature Films (ranked):

  1. Amores Perros
  2. Biutiful
  3. 21 Grams
  4. Babel

Top 10 Best Director Finishes  (Nighthawk Awards):

  • 2010  –  10th  –  Biutiful

When your worst film is the one that received all the nominations and it wasn’t a bad choice, then you know you’ve been doing fairly well.  González Iñárritu made his feature film debut with the amazing Amores Perros, balancing several stories all in one and making them all work towards one coherent whole.  He followed that up with 21 Grams, whose fractured editing didn’t work quite as well as it had for Perros, but it was well-directed, well-written and had amazing performances all around.  Then he was one of the three amigos of 2006 – earning Oscar nominations alongside his friends Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro.  Even though Babel was the weakest of the three films, it was González Iñárritu who earned the Best Director and Picture nominations.  Then he returned with a dark tale of the seedy underside of Barcelona in Biutiful.  Four films, all of them worth watching and, ironically, the two not in English are the two best.

Amores Perros  –  #9 film of 2001; #2 foreign film of 2000

There is a weekend that Veronica is unlikely to let me forget.  We had four films to watch over the weekend – all of them dark, all of them good, and through a set of random coincidences, all of them Spanish language (and three of them starring Gael García Bernal).  Veronica didn’t make it to the end of the films, which is too bad, since that was Y Tu Mamá También, which she might have liked the best.  But by then she had already sat through the mad surrealism of Talk to Her, the bleak nihilism of El Crimen del Padre Amaro and the dark fractured stories of Amores Perros and there was really only so much she could take.

To me, it was a realization of how many vital films are coming out of Mexico and Spain.  Hell, if it had been The Devil’s Backbone and Mar Adentro instead of Padre Amaro, we would have had the five best filmmakers currently working in Spanish language cinema.  Certainly Perros, the first film from a man that many would soon recognize as one of the most talented directors at work anywhere, was a revelation.

There are three stories at work in the film.  They are connected through a brutal car crash that opens the film and that we see again and again, but learning new things each time.  It is a film filled with brutal, sudden violence and much of it hard to stomach, especially the dog fights in the film.  In fact, if you are a dog lover you might want to skip the film entirely (though no animals were harmed – a sign of the remarkable technical achievement of this film), for not only do we see brutal violence, not only do we find shockingly sudden violence, but we also have a rather dark comedic tale of a dog trapped in the floorboards of a building during the second story.

It is not just a film filled with violence, but also with story and character.  It is a film that develops over the course of two and a half hours, and though some may find it long, it takes the proper amount of time for each story, and only at the end, do we really see how well the job has been done connecting all of them.  It is also the first starring role for García Bernal, who has emerged over the last decade, in such films as the three from that weekend, as well as Babel, Bad Education and The Motorcycle Diaries as one of the best actors in the world (not just Spanish language, but all the world).  His intensity and passion work so well in his role here, the pivital role in the first part of the film and the one that in a sense, connects it all back together at the end.

This film would set the stage for the next couple of films from González Iñárritu, from the way the editing works towards a single goal without necessarily moving forward in a linear time, to his magnificent job at balancing what seem to be multiple disparate storylines, but really, in the end, you discover, are all various strands merging into the same story.