Saturday, February 12, 2011

Amores Perros: A Film Review...

This is the third film featuring Gael Garcia Bernal that I've enjoyed and would definately tab him as one of my favorite actors working today.

Much like in The Motorcycle Diaries or Y Tu Mama Tambien, Bernal dominates the scenes he appears in and is the obvious star to come out of this film.

While other films in recent years have borrowed heavily from the directing and scripting style found within Amores Perros (noteably the garbage that is Paul Haggis' Crash and the excellent Traffic) this film weaves its three plot lines together in the most effective fashion and is the best of director Alejandro González Iñárritu's best known films (Babel, 21 Grams and Amores Perros).

Though Bernal stands out, all the actors here put together strong performances conveying the appropriately raw emotions surrounding the issues of death, love, violence, and betrayal. The weakest of the three "stories" contained within the film (the middle of the three) deals with an upper class couple who end up losing a dog (dogs are central to all three segments) under the floorboards of their townhouse and I ended up wanting to scream at the characters to just rip up the friggin floor and get the dog out rather than listening the damn thing whine away day after day.

Outside of the lack of believability that anyone would live in a house while their dog lies trapped under their floorboards while they go about their life, the film is a solid work and adds to the quality films and talent to come out of Mexico in recent years with directors such as Iñárritu, Cuaron, and Guillermo Del Toro (dubbed the Three Amigos).

Most interesting to me within this film is the depiction of Mexican life from a Mexican eye. It is obvious there are two distinct worlds within Mexico and here, specifically within Mexico City. An early scene where one of the films central characters, living as a cart pushing street bum, shoots a banker through a pane of glass while the banker had been enjoying an expensive lunch/coffee with his back turned to the dirty homeless man, is aptly symbolic of the "walls" between the two worlds existing side by side but rarely paying attention to one another in modern Mexico. Be sure to enjoy this decidedly non-Hollywood film.

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