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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