Amores Perros is a 2000 Mexican drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. It is both his directorial debut and the first in his "trilogy of death", followed by 21 Grams and Babel. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The title translates in English as roughly "Love's a Bitch", though Word of God states that this is not what the title is supposed to mean. It is sometimes referred to as "the Mexican Pulp Fiction", although if your're expecting the film to be in any way similiar to that film except in terms of structure, your're out of luck.
The film tells three stories each revolving around a different person or set of persons in Mexico City; interconnected via a common event consisting of a car crash. In the process, it shows how the lower, middle and upper classes in Mexico interact. Each of the stories also involves dogs in some way.
The first story, "Octavio and Susana", stars Gael García Bernal and Vanessa Bauche as the title characters. Susana is Octavio's sister in law, but Octavio is in love with her and resents the way her husband/his brother, Ramiro, treats her. Enticing her to flee with him to start a new life, Octavio enters his dog in the dogfighting circuit where it quickly becomes a champion, scoring him big bucks with which to do it.
The second story, "Daniel y Valeria", stars Álvaro Guerrero and Goya Toledo. Daniel is a successful magazine publisher who leaves his family to live with supermodel Valeria. Valeria hurts her leg when Octavio's car colides with hers; confining her to a wheelchair for a few weeks. In Daniel and Valeria's new apartment, Valeria's dog disappears down a hole in the floorboards. At night, they can hear it whimpering, and Valeria implores Daniel to try and rescue it. The two get into a fight, and Valeria resorts to trying to rescue the dog herself. Big mistake...
The third and final story, "El Chivo y Maru", stars Emilio Echevarría and Lourdes Echevarría. El Chivo (The Goat) appears on the surface to be a homeless man who cares for stray dogs. In reality, he is a hitman who got involved with a guerrilla movement and thus abandoned his daughter, Maru, many years ago. He and his wife agreed to tell their daughter that he was dead. El Chivo is hired by a man to kill his business partner, but as he is about to do it, he is interrupted by the car crash. He then learns that the target is the client's half-brother, and decides to throw a spanner into the gears...
This film provides examples of:
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Susana is verbally and physically abused by her husband (who also happens to be a robber), yet in the end she chooses him (even after his death) over Octavio, mind that Octavio is just a little better than his brother.
- Badass Beard: El Chivo.
- Beastly Bloodsports: Savage dogfight scenes.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: None of the main characters could be considered "white" in morality, for example: Daniel cheated on his wife and abandoned her and his little daughters to be with Valeria, Valeria dated Daniel while knowing that he was a married man, El Chivo's target was also having an affair with a young (and married) co-worker, Octavio, Susana and El Chivo belong to a shadier tone of gray while Ramiro, Jarocho and El Chivo's client are definitely black in morality.
- Cain and Abel: El Chivo lampshades it when he learns the relationship between his target and his client.
- Career-Ending Injury: Because of the accident, Valeria loses her modeling contract with a prominent beauty products firm; and later due to complications, she ends up losing her leg, effectively ending her modeling career.
- Dead Guy Junior: Susana decides to name her unborn child after her husband, Ramiro, and this is used to show her choice of him over Octavio.
- Downer Ending: No one gets a happy ending:
- Octavio ends up in a car crash, that kills his best friend and leaves him severely injured. Susana reveals to him, she will name her unborn child after Ramiro (who is now dead), meaning she chooses her abusive husband over him.
- Valeria has to have her leg amputated, effectively ending her modeling career. Before that, Daniel starts to regret leaving his wife and daughters for Valeria after seeing how unstable she is.
- El Chivo doesn't reunite with his daughter.
- The Farmer and the Viper: After El Chivo saves Octavio's fighting dog from the car crash and nurses it back to health, it then kills all of the dogs of his house.
- Karmic Death: Ramiro, in his first bank robbery he made the mistake of mugging a cop, then the latter's partner appears behind Ramiro and shoots him in the back.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Inverted, somehow Octavio manages to stab an armed Jarocho in front of his mooks.
- Stalker Without a Crush: El Chivo towards his daughter, he even breaks into her house twice, the second time near the end of the film in order to leave her all his money, a picture of him and recording a farewell message on her answering machine.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: El Chivo was a guerrillero who just wanted a better world for his family.
- Weapon for Intimidation: Early in the movie El Chivo backs down El Jarocho, a thug at least half his age without saying a word and while holding a Machete.