Amores Perros, a film from 2000 by the same director as 21 Grams and Babel, has always been my favorite of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s. The story is in the same style, with disparate stories which are connected only tenuously. This style pops up all over the place, in films such as Crash, Traffic, and Magnolia. I had wondered for a long time where this style originated, and so I did a little digging and found out it has a nice and pretentious name: hyperlink cinema.
Hyperlink cinema attempts to tell a multilinear story, with metaphorical “hyperlinks” between the individual stories. For instance, Amores Perros links three stories through a car crash which effects the lives of all the characters. These kinds of links exist in other artistic forms as well – for instance, Nabokov’s Pale Fire links a story through a poem and its work of criticism.
The three stories in Amores Perros all involve love, in one form or another. The first is of someone in love with his brother’s wife; the second of love under pressure from a major injury; the final of a father for his daughter. The narratives are surprisingly complex and offer a vouyeristic look into other lives.
As you may suspect from the title, all the narratives contain dogs as a major cause for the action of each story. But be careful filmgoers – there is a lot of dog-on-dog violence in the movie. They never actually show any more of the dogs fighting than a lunge and initial quick bite, but you do see plenty of them dead. Unsurprisingly, the producers made the decision to put the “no animals were harmed” disclaimer at the beginning of the film rather than the end.
Overall, Amores Perros stands head and shoulders above the other hyperlink movies. It doesn’t shift back and forth too often between characters. The stories are focused, with small little breaks to catch up on what other events are going on. The acting is great. There is no cheesy “message” pushed in your face. It is more gritty and more real than the others. Its only real flaw may be the incredibly unsubtle music choices through the movie. But we can accept that every once in a while, can’t we?