Amores Perros DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

  • OVERALL
    5.0
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
Three lives become inextricably linked in the wake of a terrible car crash: a young punk stumbles into the sinister underground world of dogfighting; an injured supermodel's pooch disappears into the apartment's floorboards; and an ex-radical turned hit man rescues a gun shot Rotweiler.

With a densely layered film structure Amores Perros deals head on with loss, regret and life's harsh realities.
THE EXTRAS
Story Boards

For a film that clocks in at 153 minutes I was very taken with the minimalness of the story boards. I scrolled through these and thought that the director must've have had such a clear vision in his mind of everything that he needed. I say this because these drawings in no way look like they were quickly dashed off. There's a simplicity to the them that seems to have been transferred into the making of this movie.

Photos

This is a small picture book of the making of the film. Not much here, but it all culminates in shots of either a screening of the film or an awards ceremony for the film(most likely the latter). My favorite photo is the one of the hitman sitting in his chair calmly and quietly between a take. It's exactly how you imagine this person would be.

2 Featurettes

One of the featurette's is a straight forward look at what it took to get this film made. It is completely subtitled and begins on the first day of production with the director rallying his crew behind their 9 week mission of getting this film made. After that, it is just a matter of execution as these people create an expose on the various forms of love that make and destroy us all. I was rather impressed with how in minimal time, each of the segments of the film was covered and further explained. Seeing the 9 camera setup for the car crash that is the catalyst for the film was nothing short of intriguing.

Los Perros

This segment is titled, THE DOGS OF LOVES A BITCH and it is just that. We hear from the dog trainers and find out that many of the dogs involved in the film had worked in films before. They had their own trailers and air-conditioning(at least that's what the makers of the film claim). This featurette is both illuminating and cautionary in how it deals with working with animals on such a complicated film. I also was surprised to find out that in no scenes was there any contact between the dogs(now this must've been especially daunting considering a big portion of this movie is about FIGHTING DOGS!).

Deleted Scenes

This looks at scenes with Octavio and Susana(Gael Garcia Bernal and Vanessa Bauche) where more of their home life situation is shown. Next up is Daniel and Valeria (Alvaro Guerrero and Goya Toledo) and we see Daniel waiting for his wife after the accident and how their lives are now altered by his wife's condition. Finally, we close out on El Chivo played by Emilio Echevarria. I go back and forth on my likes and dislikes of deleted scenes. I think another screening of the film is mandatory to put them in their right context, but then again this is only my opinion. It is funny to think about what they didn't use in this film because as I stated previously this movie is very rich in both story and subtext.

Music Videos

I wish I enjoyed these things more. As someone who hasn't watched MTV since the early 80s, I must admit these are the only extras on a dvd that I don't think are necessary. It has never really made sense to me why people put them on a dvd, only because rarely am I hit with the music in a film. I am words man and I usually don't notice the music until I buy the soundtrack to the movie(which is another rarity). That said, including the entire soundtrack on a dvd as something that I can listen too later might not be a bad idea.

Production Commentary Track

As this film was shot in Spanish I should've expected the commentary track to be in that tongue. Like the ugly American that I am, I settled down to listen to this as I began work on cleaning my room and imagine my surprise when all I heard was Spanish. The director and the all the people involved in this film are very passionate about the project. Therefore it is infused with those ingredients and it's why I think this film registered so well with audiences and critics. There's a reason why it was nominated as the best foreign film by the Academy Awards people(as well as a Golden Globe) and I am not surprised it took home the best feature film honors from the AFI contingent.

Trailer

Now, these things are not like music videos, but they are like music videos ... I don't know what it is but I am a sucker for a good trailer. Depending on how it is done(moody mysterious ones usually grab my attention) I find that often times my favorite part of sitting in a movie theater is watching the trailers before the movie. The trailer for this film really makes you curious, from the opening with Elvis Mitchell's review to last frame I now remember what got me into the theater to see a film whose title I didn't even know if I was saying correctly.
THE VIDEO
Shot in Widescreen this dvd is sharp. Almost too sharp because a lot of the sequences are very hard to deal with at times. I found myself pausing this film and doing other things for a moment, only to come back to it just because while it looked great, what was happening on the screen was a bit much. Many foreign and lower budgeted films screen in dingy art houses in the US so when one is able to watch them on a dvd they notice how lush and extravagant the production actually was.
THE AUDIO
In 5.1 Dolby Digital the Spanish sounds great. If one is interested they can also hear the film in a 2.0 French language track, and the film can be screened with English and French subtitles.
THE FINAL WORD
I liked this movies when I saw it. I liked it on dvd. It is one of those films that you can't watch everyday, and you wouldn't watch it if you wanted something light, but it is important. I liken it to such films as Michael Cimino's THE DEER HUNTER and films of that ilk. They are not the most uplifting films, they aren't even the most enjoyable, they are just necessary and should be a part of any serious dvd collectors collection.

AMORES PERROS is a very heavy film. It deals with 3 situations of love and the sacrifices that have to be made. It also deals with what the benefits of love are so it seems to reside in a place where one cannot live without the other. I remember when I first saw the film, I was surprised at how accessible it was. I don't think that a film like this couldn't be made within the studio system, I just think that in order for it to resonate the way that it does it needs to be made in the rough way that the featurettes show it was.

If you haven't seen this movie ... SEE IT. You may love it, you may hate it but you will definitely have an opinion about it. I don't think there is any middle ground which seems to be the same tact that the creators took when this film was made.

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