There’s a little of ”Pulp Fiction,” a lot of ”Go,” and a bundle of moviemaking bravura packed into Amores Perros, the award winning first feature film by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, from a script by novelist Guillermo Arriaga. As in ”Pulp” and ”Go,” violence crosses paths with chance. As in ”Pulp” and ”Go,” the narrative doubles back as the focus shifts, in the course of multiple retellings, to characters on the outskirts of the throat grabbing opening scene — a nail biter car chase through the streets of Mexico City.
Unlike in those two very cool North American yarns, however, behavior is not divorced from moral consequence in Iñárritu’s molten Mexican passion play, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. ”Amores Perros” is loosely translated as ”Love Is a Bitch,” and the elemental dog eat dog nature of humans is expressed not only in disturbing glimpses of brutal, backroom dogfights, but also in the relationships between the animals and their owners. A soft young man (Gael García Bernal), in love with his bullying brother’s wife (Vanessa Bauche), treats his killer dog gently; a businessman (Álvaro Guerrero) who leaves his family for a flouncy model (Goya Toledo) is undone by her flouncy pet; a bitter former political activist, now a wary bum (Mexican star Emilio Echevarría), cares more for his pack of mutts than for his neighbors. Fierce, loving, and electric, this movie’s got bite as well as bark.