Amores Perros opens with chaos, as Octavio and a friend drive away from the latest dogfight with the injured canine on the back seat and enemies in hot pursuit, then hops back, forward and sideways in time. It's a risky device, delaying crucial plot information for over an hour, but the individual stories, which weave in and out of each other with true-life untidiness, are so gripping you'll be happy to go along with them before everything becomes clear. Inarritu is a real find, a distinctive and subtle voice who upends all your expectations of Mexican filmmaking by shifting confidently from raw, on-the-streets violent emotion to cool, upper-middle-class desperation. A uniformly impressive cast create a gallery of unforgettable characters, some with only brief snippet-like scenes, others--such as Emilio Echevarria as the shaggy tramp with hidden depths--by sheer presence.
On the DVD: The anamorphic presentation, augmented for 16:9 TV, is of a pristine print and shows off the imaginative cinematography (with non-removable yellow English sub-titles). The soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 and there are 15-minutes' worth of additional scenes with commentary by Inarritu and writer Guillermo Arriaga (evidently the surviving trace of an entire feature commentary available on a Mexican DVD release), explaining why they were cut. With a behind-the-scenes featurette, a poster gallery, three related pop videos (two by Inarritu) and the trailer (and trailers for other Optimum releases) the special features offer a more than adequate addition to Amores Perros. --Kim Newman
16x9 Anamorphic Presentation
5.1 Dolby Digital
The manner in which the brutality is portrayed in this film makes it horrific and demonstrates to the viewer the full consequences of the violence in a way no Hollywood film has ever done. It traces several seemingly unconnected storylines that are pulled together with ruthless vigour, leaving you stunned at the climax.
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