Mexican-born director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (1963)
Amores Perros (2000) is a Pulp Fiction-style
narrative puzzle and hyper-realist drama. Three stories evolve in parallel
to join again where the film started. The underlying themes are urban violence,
moral decay, loneliness.
Octavio is driving like a maniac through traffic, chased by punks who are
trying to shoot him. In his car are his friend Jorge, who is terrified, and
a wounded dog that is bleeding to death.
The wild chase ends with a terrible accident: Octavio hits and overturns
the car driven by a woman, who begs for help.
A punk, Jarocho,
makes money betting on his dogs at dog fights organized by a cunning
Susana is a teenage mother, dressed like a schoolgirl, who lives with his
husband's family: the mother in law takes care of the child and the brother in
law, Octavio, is her best friend. Her husband Ramiro beats her, possibly to
vent his frustration at being a failure.
A tramp, followed by his pack of dogs, collects garbage in the streets.
Jarocho's dog, a fierce killer, runs away and meets Octavio's dog, Cofy.
The tramp is walking with a picture and a gun in his pockets.
Jarocho and his friends show up at Octavio's house: Cofy has killed their
champion. Jarocho demands either Cofy or compensation.
Jorge, a skate punk, is on Octavio's side.
Octavio is not afraid of Jarocho and sends him to hell.
In front of a restaurant, the tramp turns into a hit man: once identified
the man of the picture, the tramp coldly shoots him and walks away.
Daniel is the head of a model middle-class family and lives in a nice apartment.
The marriage is not as smooth as it looks. In fact, often the phone rings
but the caller hangs up, and only when the woman picks up. Daniel's
wife suspects he's having an affair.
Susana tells Octavio that she is pregnant again. She can't afford that child,
and is sure that Ramiro also wouldn't want it. Octavio is fond of her and would
like her to leave with him, but she is terrified by the thought.
In the meantime, Ramiro is robbing a convenience store.
The tramp walks back to the humble place he shares with his dogs.
The following morning he finds in the newspaper the news of the murder he has
committed, but also a eulogy for a woman that brings tears to his eyes.
With the money of the robbery, Ramiro buys a present for Susana. But even when
he is trying to be nice he can't help turning violent. He and his brother
discuss Susana. At night, Octavio is aroused by the noise of Ramiro and Susana
Octavio has an idea to make money: bring his dog, obviously a champion, at the
dogfights. With the help of his buddy Jorge, Octavio starts a new business.
In the meantime, Ramiro slaves out as a supermarket clerk. Octavio, who can't
stand his arrogance anymore, makes a point of insulting him and hitting him
in front of everybody. Then Octavio gives all his money to Susana, still hoping
that some day she will elope with him.
Daniel and his wife are in bed watching tv when the phone rings. Daniel pretends
it's his brother, but it is a lover.
Cofi keeps killing Jarocho's new dogs and Octavio gets richer and richer.
All the money goes to Susana, who hides it in a bag.
The tramp shows up at the funeral and is reproached by a woman (his sister in
law) who reminds him that he is supposed to be dead for the good of his
Ramiro keeps robbing stores, Octavio keeps betting on his dog.
Eventually, Ramiro learns about the dog and asks Octavio for his cut.
The tramp now follows a girl: his daughter.
Octavio and Susana make love.
Jarocho challenges Octavio at a private dog fight for a huge sum of money.
Octavio asks Fatso a favor: to beat his brother.
Octavio has a plan: to elope with Susana after the dog fight.
Instead, it's Ramiro who disappears with her... and the money.
On tv, a gorgeous model, Valeria, is being interviewed.
Rather than accept defeat, this time Jarocho shoots Cofy. Octavio, outnumbered,
can only carry his dying dog to the car, followed by Jorge. But then Octavio
walks back, pulls out a knife, and kills Jarocho.
Now Octavio and Jarocho have to run because Jarocho's men want them dead.
We get back to the first scene of the film.
The model leaves the tv studio. She always keeps her little dog with her.
Posters of her are all over the city.
Her lover is Daniel, who has just separated from his wife and bought an
apartment for Valeria, with a view on one of those gigantic posters.
Daniel is still working on the floors, and
one piece of the floor cracks and leaves a hole.
The tramp is still spying on his daughter.
Valeria takes the dog and drives to do some shopping. She drives by the
tramp and then her car is hit with extreme violence by Octavio's car.
Daniel finds her at the hospital, barely alive. Days later, she is released
but on a wheelchair because one leg is still in critical condition.
The tramp breaks into the girl's apartment just to stare at her pictures.
Before leaving, he takes the one picture that has him, her father, in it.
One day Valeria's dog falls in the hole and never comes back. Initially,
Daniel and Valeria think that it will come back, but days go by. They can
occasionally hear the whining. Daniel is a loving partner, but Valeria gets
paranoid about her dog.
Eventually, she gets off the wheelchair and crawls to the hole, only to find
out that a multitude of rats roam below the floor.
Often, the phone of the apartment rings, but the caller hangs up when Valeria
picks up. One day the tension explodes: she and Daniel have a big argument.
When Daniel returns home after work, he finds the living room floor destroyed
in several new points and the bedroom door locked. Valeria refuses to open and
Daniel has to sleep on the couch. When finally Daniel decides to break the door,
he found Valeria lying on the floor. At the hospital they save her life, but
her leg requires an amputation.
Now the poster outside their window looks like a curse.
This time it is Daniel who hears the dog whining below the floor.
Daniel grabs a tool and starts destroying the floor until he finds the dog,
wounded and starving, but alive.
It is a meager consolation for Valeria, when she comes home on the same
wheelchair but without a leg.
Her career is finished.
The poster has already been removed from the building across the street.
Two men meet the tramp. One, Leonardo, is the man who arrested him twenty
The tramp, Chivo, had been a dangerous terrorist, and spent twenty years
in prison. Since his release, he went nuts and led a solitary existence,
earning money with hit jobs.
The other man is Gustavo, a business man who wants his partner eliminated.
Chivo accepts for a lot of money.
While he is looking for the target, Chivo crosses the path of Ramiro and
Susana, who are walking downtown.
Chivo follows his man and is about to strike when the accident happens in
front of him. He is the first person to help Octavio out of the car.
Chivo can't help stealing the money that Octavio has in the pocket.
Jorge is dead. The dog, still alive, is left in the middle of the street and
Chivo carries it home. Thanks to his care, Cofy heals and regains his strength.
Ramiro and a friend rob a bank, but are killed by the police.
(By coincidence, Leonardo was in the bank).
Chivo is again following his target.
At Ramiro's funeral Octavio finally meets Susana again, and she still does
not want to run away with him.
When Chivo returns home, he finds a horrible scene: Cofy has massacred
all the other dogs. Chivo cries like a child, but can't shoot Cofy.
All he can do is burn the dead dogs.
The shock changes him. For the first time in years, Chivo wears his old
glasses. The following day he catches the man he is supposed to kill and
takes him to his place. Chivo enjoys telling him that someone has paid to
kill him, but is surprised when he learns that Gustavo is the half-brother.
Then he calls Gustavo who still has to pay him the rest of the reward.
When Gustavo arrives, Chivo enjoys the scene of the two brothers facing
At the bus station Octavio waits in vain for Susana.
Chivo showers, shaves, cuts his hair and dresses up. He leaves the two
brothers facing each other and throws them the gun, the same way they
let dogs fight.
Outside they are pulling down the posters of Valeria.
Chivo takes all the money to his daughter's apartment and restores the
picture, but with a new picture of himself.
Chivo calls her answering machine and leaves a pathetic message of love,
in which he explains everything that happened since he disappeared.
Then he takes the dog and walks away.
A few details are implausible (his wife dies right when he checks the
newspaper for his latest murder) and the ending (the moral resurrection of the
tramp) is a concession to Hollywood's stereotypes.
But each of the three stories is told with impeccable realism, each set in
its own environment.
Most of the film's appeal comes from the timeline,
duly bent and looped around itself.
The non-linear and episodic approach is here matched with a mathematical
mind, as the intersections are carefully staged, and with the sensationalist
acumen of a Jacobean playright.
The timeline is warped in such a way
to create maximum emotional impact, not just intellectual enjoyment.
When the stories meet, it is with a sudden and thunderous crash, that we hear
three times, each time more devastating.
Each time emotions are stronger because we are expecting the crash.
In many ways, the director is using techniques of the horror film,
camouflaged as nonlinear montage.
But the film also works as a social fresco.
Inarritu dissects the world at three different social levels: the homeless,
the working-class, the bourgeoisie. In doing so, he reviews the sordid motives
that animate their lives, ranging from the rage of the street punks to
the greed of the businessmen.
There is nothing heroic or epic about these "types". The film is a small
gallery of failed characters. Redemption does not seem to exist in
Inarritu's world. And the reason is that these characters do not deserve it.
Dogs are not only material origins of these character's immoral foundations
(jealousy, greed, vainglory, selfishness),
they are also symbols of the very way these humans behave.
Ultimately, this is an essay about violence. Violence is not a means to
develop the story, it is the central theme of the story. The film is a
disturbing lecture on what violence is all about.
21 Grams (2003) is both a philosophical melodrama and a postmodernist
exercise a` la Nolan's Memento.
Technically speaking, it feels like the director simply shuffled the scenes
of the film at random, leaving the viewer to reorder the sequence. In practice,
the way the scenes are rearranged (not chronologically) adds psychological
tension to every single detail. Instead of letting the story unfold in a smooth
way, the director "throws" each scene at the viewer. By isolating each episode,
each episode acquires a stronger emotional value. The suspense is not achieved
by surprising the viewer, but by eventually showing what the viewer has
already half guessed. The goal is the same as in Hitchcock's films, but here
it is constructed (or deconstructed) in a completely different manner.
At the same time, this is also e very metaphysical story. Actually, it is two
stories into one. They develop in parallel and correspond to the existential
realizations of two characters:
one is the eternal victim, and the other is the eternal searcher for meaning.
Paul is Ulysses, the man who ventures into
a dangerous Odyssey to rediscover his origins, and eventually comes to
accept his fate. Paul is Ulysses with a self-destructive twist, his quest for
knowledge eventually leading to suicide. Jack is a completely different beast,
but no less tragic. He is on a quest to find God, but God seems to have
different plans for him: martyrdom. Jack too comes to accept his fate,
when he takes responsibility for a murder he didn't commit in order to
get killed (sacrificed) by humankind, his personal way of saving the human
race the same way Jesus did. The two poles of Ulysses and Jesus drive the
drama, and thus it is no surprise that the film resonates with Homeric and
Biblical themes and symbols.
If one straightens out the plot, it comes to this. Paul, a distinguished scholar, is dying of a bad heart and needs a heart transplant to survive. He separated from his wife Mary, but now she's back with him, and she very much want to get
a child from him, which is possible only with artificial insemination because
she an abortion resulted in some serious damage to her reproductive system
(the abortion was from a relationship during the time she was separated).
That heart is provided by a car accident, in which Jack, an ex-convict who
is now trying to live an honest life but is persecuted by bad luck, runs over
a man and his two daughters, killing them all. Paul gets his heart transplant,
but, once restored to regular life, needs to meet the widow of the man who,
unwillingly, saved his life. That widow, Christina, is desperate and getting
into drugs, and falls for the stranger who seems to really care,
even when he reveals his real motive. In fact, when she decides that
she can find peace only by killing Jack (who, in the meantime, has been released
from jail and, again, is trying to start a new life), he dumps his wife Mary
and decides to help Christina find peace. He has just learned, by the way, that
the heart transplant failed and he is going to die a horrible death.
Paul and Christina find out where Jack lives,
and one day Paul confronts him. But Paul can't kill him. Surprisingly,
Jack wants to be killed, so he breaks into their motel room. Instead of
killing the intruder, Paul kills himself. At the hospital, Jack tells the
police that he murdered Paul.
BU the movie's real plot is far more complicated because it is told in
a highly fractured, non-linear manner. The film opens with Paul and Christina
in bed: two lovers after having had sex. Christina's wife and his two daughters
are having lunch at a restaurant. Jack, an ex-convict who has become a
religious fanatic, has an argument with a kid of the church. The film jumps
to Paul in a hospital, kept alive by a maze of tubes and meditating on a death that is about to come. Then to Christina, who is sniffing cocaine.
Then to Mary, a woman who wants a baby before her husband dies, and her
husband only has one month to live. Jack is doing his best to take good care
of his wife and two children. Another jump forward shows Paul walking
with a gun in a desert-like landscape. Christina goes to the public swimming
pool with a girlfriend. Jack attends mass held by his friend the pastor.
Now Paul is home, has a tube up his nose, but can move around the house.
In the next scene, Christina is crying, Paul is dying and Jack is staring at
them. Paul rings the bell of a house, but there is no answer. Jack has a job
as a caddy, but loses his job because of his tattoos. His boss is awfully
sorry to have to fire him. Paul at the hospital after a heart transplant
is shown his old heart. He asks whose heart he received, but the doctors
cannot tell him. Paul and Christina drive by the place where Jack works
(a new workplace and a very different Jack).
Paul and Mary go to the fertility clinic to deposit the sperm needed for
the artificial insemination.
Paul, dressed elegant and clearly no more convalescing, follows Christina
There is a party at Jack's house. Christina gets home and finds
a message from her husband that he is on his way home with the children.
The phone rings: she is terrified by what she hears.
Jack's wife and the pastor drive by a place where an accident just occurred:
they are both frightened.
Christina at the hospital learns that her husband and daughters were run
over by a truck: the children are dead, and her husband is dying.
The party at Jack's house is still going on and Jack is late. Jack
finally arrives but he is in a trauma. He tells his wife he just ran over
a man and her children. We make the first connection.
The film jumps to Jack driving the car like crazy towards the hospital,
while Christina holds Paul who is dying.
Back to Paul at the hospital, after the heart transplant, and Mary at his
Paul follows Christina after she leaves the swimming pool. Jack is back at the
golk course, picking up his personal belongings. His boss apologizes and
invites him to have a drink.
Christina at the hospital is asked permission to donate her husband's heart
to a patient who is dying. We make the second connection. Now the three
stories have become one.
Paul and Mary are awakened by a beeper: the hospital has found a donor
and the heart transplant must take place immediately. As paul and Mary
walk into the hospital, Christina and her family walk out.
Back to the sport building, Paul approaches Christina but she doesn't
want company. The husband and the children that we saw at the beginning
walk out of the restaurant and on the sidewalk towards home: he makes the
phone call that Christina heard, the one in which he tells her that
they are on their way home, and she can hear the children playing in the street.
Jack's wife comes back from having inspected the scene of the accident: she
tells Jack that they are dead, and Jack decides to turn himself in.
Paul, Mary and their friends celebrate the new heart. Paul seems to be in
perfect health now. Mary also announces that she will undergo artificial
Paul (after the operation) meets a private detective in a bowling place.
Christina at the funeral service for her family does not accept her
father's condolences. She doesn't even want to press charges on the man
who killed her family: she just doesn't care anymore.
When their friends leave, Paul and Mary have an
argument about the artificial insemination: he is not so convinced anymore.
Paul learns from the private detective how Jack ran over the man whose
heart he inherited. At home, Paul shows the article about the accident to
Mary. He is obviously obsessed with the fact that he owes his life to
this horrible accident, and she tries in vain to make him forget and look
Jack before the accident: he just had a drink with his former boss
and is on his way to the party. Paul in the desert with a gun, staggering.
At the fertility clinic, Paul gets furious when he learns that she had an abortion while they were separated, but it's too late to undo the insemination.
In jail, the pastor tries to console Jack, but Jack is convinced that
he's been set up by Jesus himself: God chose him.
Paul follows Christina to a bar, where she does drugs (and it sounds like
she used to know the drug dealer in her previous life).
In jail, Jack tries to commit suicide but fails.
Paul is still following Christina and helps her get out of trouble when,
drugged, can't drive home. Jack in jail tells his wife he doesn't want any
help. Christina in bed with Paul. Paul in the car with the detective, who
provides him with Christina's address, Jack's address and a gun.
Paul keeps following Christina and finds another chance to drive her home.
Jack lives in a motel room and works in a factory outside the city.
Paul takes a room in the same motel.
Paul throws up. The man and the two children walking on the sidewalk.
We know what is going to happen... We see Jack's pick-up truck drive by,
and we hear the noise of tires.
His wife and the pastor welcome Jack, who has been released from jail
thanks to an attorney that his wife hired against his will; but Jack is not
thrilled to be free again. Paul sees a doctor about his heart: the doctor
tells him that the transplant has not worked, and they need a new transplant.
Paul refuses, but the doctor warns him that he is going towards a horrible
death by asphyxia. Jack's mood lightens up when he gets home and sees his
Paul and Christina have lunch.
Paul in the motel room with Christina. Paul waiting in the car with a gun.
Jack walks out of his room and Paul kidnaps him. Paul takes him in the desert
and shoots repeatedly at him, as if he wants to execute him.
Christina and Paul at her place.
Paul gets a call in the middle of the night: it's Christina who wants to
see him right away. He doesn't even reply to Mary and walks straight out
of the house. Jack leaves his wife in the middle of the night.
Jack, Christina and Paul arrive at the hospital, and Jack tells the police
officer that he shot Paul.
Paul arrives at Christina's home. She's desperately lonely and kisses him.
Paul stops her and tells her the truth. She screams like a maniac and kicks
him out. He sleeps outside in his car, and in the morning she calms down and
accepts to talk it over.
Paul and Christina make love.
Jack calls his wife from a phone booth and tells her that he needs to start
over, by himself.
Christina is at the hospital waiting for news about Paul, and offers her blood
when she is told he needs a blood transfusion.
The morning after, Paul goes through Christina's stuff and finds the drugs.
We see again the first scene of the movie: the two lovers after sex.
In jail, Jack is released because of lack of evidence.
Back home, Paul finds that Mary is packing to leave, and is still
determined to have his child.
Christina retraces the steps of her family that dreadful day: their last walk.
She keeps listening to the last message her husband left on her cell phone,
as they were walking home.
Jack, in his motel room, can't find peace either.
Now Christina wants to kill Jack, or so she tells Paul.
We jump again to the shooting scene and see that Paul actually shot only
to scare Jack, but not to hit him. Paul lets him go, but tells him to
disappear. Then he has trouble walking back with the gun through that
desert-like landscape. His heart is clearly failing.
At the hospital a nurse tells Christina that they cannot use her blood: she
has done too many drugs. And the nurse also tells her that she is pregnant.
Christina wakes up in the motel room and sees that he is gone. She finds him
outside with the gun and realizes that he has killed Jack, as she wanted to
do. Paul did pretend to have killed him. But Jack is still unsatisfied
and breaks into their room in order to get killed for real. Paul doesn't.
Christina hits Jack with any object she can't find and Jack does not
try to defend himself, willing to be stoned to death. Paul, who is gasping
for air, clearly approaching asphyxia, grabs the gun
and... shoots himself in the chest.
At the hospital, kept alive by a maze of tubes, Paul is meditating on his death:
we hear his last thoughts before the heartbeat goes flat.
He leaves two children behind: Mary and Christina are both pregnant now.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Annalisa Scatena) |
Amores Perros e' un puzzle narrativo stile Pulp fiction e un drama super
realistico. Tre storie si evolvono in parallelo per congiungersi ancora dove
‚ cominciato il film.
I temi alla base sono quelli della violenza urbana, della decadenza morale e
Octavio guida come un pazzo in mezzo al traffico inseguito da dei teppisti
che cercano di sparagli. Nell'auto con lui ci sono il suo amico Jorge,
spaventatissimo,e un cane ferito che sanguina a morte.L'inseguimento
selvaggio finisce con un terribile incidente: Octavio urta e capovolge un'
auto guidata da una donna che implora aiuto.
Un punk, Jarocho,si guadagna da vivere scommettendo sui suoi cani nei
combattimenti tra cani organizzati da uno scaltro uomo d'affari,Fatso.
Susana e' una ragazza madre, vestita come una scolara, che vive con la
famiglia del marito : la suocera si prende cura del bambino e il cognato
Octavio e' il suo migliore amico. Il marito Ramiro la picchia, forse per
scaricare la sua frustrazione per essere un fallimento.
Un barbone, seguito dal suo branco di cani, raccoglie immondizie per la strada.
Il cane di Jarocho, un feroce animale,scappa via e incontra il cane di Octavio, Cofy.
Il barbone cammina con una foto e una pistola in tasca.
Jarocho e i suoi amici si presentano a casa di Octavio:Cofy ha ucciso il loro campione.
Jarocho chiede di avere un compenso o Cofy. Jorge, un punk con lo skateboard, e' dalla parte di Octavio.Octavio non ha paura di Jarocho e lo manda all'inferno.
Di fronte ad un ristorante il barbone si rivela un killer : una volta identificato l'uomo della foto gli spara freddamente e se ne va.
Daniel e' il capo di una famiglia modello di ceto medio e vive in un bel appartamento.
Il suo matrimonio pero' non e' tranquillo come sembra. Infatti spesso il telefono squilla ma chi telefona mette giu' solo quando la donna risponde. La moglie di Daniel sospetta che egli abbia una relazione.
Susana dice ad Octavio di essere di nuovo incinta. Non puo' permettersi questo bambino ed e' sicura che neanche Ramiro lo vorrebbe. Octavio le vuole bene e vorrebbe che lei se ne andasse con lui, ma lei e' spaventata dal pensiero.
Nel frattempo Ramiro sta derubando un negozio di generi vari.
Il barbone cammina verso l'umile casa che divide con i suoi cani. Il giorno seguente legge nel giornale la notizia dell'omicidio che ha commesso ma anche un elogio funebre per una donna che gli fa venire la lacrime agli occhi. Con i soldi della rapina Ramiro compra un regalo a Susana ma anche quando cerca di essere gentile non puo' evitare di essere violento. Lui e il fratello si contendono Susana. Durante la notte Octavio e' svegliato dai rumori di Susana e Ramiro che fanno l'amore.
Octavio ha un'idea su come fare soldi: portare il suo cane, decisamente un campione, ai combattimenti fra cani. Con l'aiuto del suo amico Jorge, Octavio comincia un nuovo giro d'affari. Nel frattempo Ramiro sgobba come impiegato in un supermercato. Ocatvio, che non sopporta piu' la sua arroganza, si fa il dovere di insultarlo e colpirlo di fronte a tutti. Poi Octavio da' tutti i suoi soldi a Susana, ancora sperando di fuggire con lei un giorno.
Daniel e sua moglie stanno guardando la televisione a letto quando il telefono squilla. Daniel fa finta che sia il fratello, ma in realt ‚ l'amante.
Cofy continua ad uccidere tutti i cani di Jarocho e Octavio diventa sempre piŁ ricco. Tutti i suoi soldi vanno a Susana che li nasconde in una borsa. Il barbone si presenta al funerale ed ‚ rimproverato da una donna (sua cognata) che gli ricorda di essere ritenuto morto per il bene della figlia.
Ramiro continua a rapinare negozi, Octavio a scommettere sul suo cane. Alla fine Ramiro viene a sapere del cane e chiede la sua parte di soldi. Octavio si rifiuta.
Adesso il barbone segue una ragazza: sua figlia.
Octavio e Susana fanno l'amore.
Jarocho sfida Octavio in un combattimento privato per un'enorme somma di denaro. Octavio chiede a Fatso un favore: picchiare il fratello. Octavio ha un piano: fuggire con Susana dopo che il cane ha combattuto. Invece ‚ Ramiro che scompare con lei e ...i soldi.
In televisione una bellissima model, Valeria, ‚ intervistata.
Piuttosto che accettare la sconfitta, Jarocho spara a Cofy. Octavio, in minoranza, puo' solo portare il suo cane alla macchina seguito da Jorge. Ma poi Octavio torna indietro, tira fuori un coltello e uccide Jarocho. Ora Octavio e Jorge devono scappare perch‚ gli uomini di Jarocho li vogliono morti. Torniamo cosˇ alla prima scena del film.
La modella lascia lo studio televisivo . Ha sempre con s‚ il suo cagnolino. I suoi poster sono dovunque in citt . Il suo amante ‚ Daniel che si ‚ appena separato dalla moglie e ha comprato un appartamento per Valeria con la vista su uno di quei giganteschi poster.Daniel sta ancora sistemando il pavimento quando un pezzo del pavimento si rompe lasciando un buco.
Il barbone spia ancora la figlia. Valeria prende il cane e guida per andare a fare compere. Sta passando accanto al barbone quando la sua auto e' urtata con estrema violenza dall'auto di Octavio. Daniel la trova all'ospedale in fin di vita. Dopo un po' di giorni e' dimessa ma e' su una sedia a rotelle perche' la sua gamba e' ancora in condizioni critiche.
Il barbone irrompe nell'appartamento della figlia solo per fissare la foto di lei. Prima di andarsene prende una foto in cui c'e' lui, suo padre.
Un giorno il cane di Valeria cade nel buco e non torna piu'. All'inizio Daniel e Valeria pensano che tornera' ma i giorni passano. Ogni tanto sentono lo sentono mugolare. Daniel e' un compagno amorevole ma Valeria diventa paranoica per il cane. Alla fine scende dalla sedia a rotelle e si trascina fino al buco solo per scoprire che una moltitudine di ratti e' libera sotto il pavimento. Spesso il telefono squilla ma chi telefona mette giu' quando e' Valeria a rispondere. Un giorno la tensione esplode: lei e Daniel hanno una grande discussione. Quando Daniel torna a casa dal lavoro, trova il pavimento del salotto distrutto in piu' punti e la porta della camera da letto chiusa a chiave. Valeria si rifiuta di aprire e Daniel e' costretto a dormire sul divano.
Quando alla fine Daniel si decide a rompere la porta trova Valeria che giace per terra. All'ospedale le salvano la vita ma devono amputarle una gamba. Ora i poster fuori sembrano una maledizione. Questa volta e' Daniel a sentire il cane mugolare sotto il pavimento. Daniel afferra un attrezzo da lavoro e distrugge il pavimento finche' non trova il cane ferito, affamato ma ancora vivo. E' una magra consolazione per Valeria quando torna a casa sulla stessa sedia a rotelle ma senza una gamba. La sua carriera e' finita. Il poster nell'edificio di fronte e' stato gia' rimosso.
Due uomini incontrano il barbone. Uno, Leonardo, e' l'uomo che lo ha arrestato venti anni prima. Il barbone, Chivo, e' stato un pericoloso terrorista e ha passato 20 anni in prigione. Da quando e' stato rilasciato e' diventato matto e ha condotto un'esistenza solitaria guadagnandosi da vivere come killer. L'altro uomo e' Gustavo, un uomo d'affari che vuole eliminare il suo socio. Chivo accetta per una elevata somma di denaro.
Mentre cerca il suo bersaglio , Chivo incrocia per la strada Ramiro e Susana che camminano verso il centro della citta'. Chivo segue il suo uomo e sta per ucciderlo quando l'incidente accade di fronte a lui. E' la prima persona ad aiutare Octavio ad uscire fuori dalla macchina. Chivo non puo' evitare di rubargli il denaro che ha in tasca. Jorge e' morto. Il cane , ancora vivo, e' lasciato in mezzo alla strada e Chivo lo porta a casa con se'. Grazie alle sue cure Cofy guarisce e si rimette in forze.
Ramiro ed un amico rapinano una banca ma sono uccisi dalla polizia( per coincidenza Leonardo era nella banca.)
Chivo segue il suo bersaglio.
Al funerale di Ramiro Octavio finalmente incontra Susana ma lei ancora non vuole scappare con lui.
Quando Chivo torna a casa trova una terribile scena: Cofy ha massacrato tutti gli altri cani. Chivo piange come un bambino ma non riesce a sparare a Cofy. Tutto quello che puo' fare e' bruciare i cani morti. Lo shock lo cambia. Per la prima volta dopo anni Chivo si rimette i suoi vecchi occhiali. Il giorno seguente cattura l'uomo che doveva uccidere e lo porta a casa sua. Chivo si gode il fatto di dirgli che qualcuno ha pagato affiche' lo uccidesse, ma e'sorpreso nell'apprendere che e' il fratellastro di Gustavo. Poi chiama Gustavo che ancora deve finire di pagare la somma promessa.Quando Gustavo arriva, Chivo si gusta la scena dei due fratelli che ora sono faccia a faccia.
Alla stazione degli autobus Octavio aspetta Susana invano.
Chivo si fa una doccia, si fa la barba, si taglia i capelli e si veste bene. Lascia i due fratelli ad affrontarsi e butta loro una pistola, allo stesso modo in cui lasciano combattere i cani.
Fuori stanno tirando giu' i poster di Valeria.
Chivo porta tutti i suoi soldi all'appartamento della figlia e rimette a posto la fotografia ma con una foto recente di lui. Chivo chiama la segreteria telefonica della figlia e lascia un messaggio d'amore nel quale spiega tutto cio' che e'accaduto da quando e' scomparso. Poi prende il cane e se ne va .
Alcuni particolari sono implausibili(la morte della moglie quando lui cerca la notizia del suo ultimo omicidio) e la fine ( la resurrezione morale del barbone) e' una concessione agli stereotipi di Hollywood.Ma ognuna di queste tre storie e' raccontata con un impeccabile realismo, ognuna collocata nel proprio ambiente.
La maggior attrattiva del film viene dalla linea del tempo, appropriatamente piegata e fatta girare intorno a se stessa. L' approccio non lineare ed a episodi e' qui abbinato ad una mente matematica come le intersezioni sono messe in scena con cura, e all'acume sensista di una commedia giacobina. La linea del tempo e' deformata in modo da creare il massimo impatto emotivo, non solo piacere intellettuale. Quando le storie si incontrano e' con uno scontro improvviso e fragoroso, che sentiamo tre volte, ogni volta piu' devastante. Ogni volta le emozioni sono piu' forti perche' ci aspettiamo lo scontro. In diversi modi il regista usa tecniche del film horror, mimetizzate da un montaggio non lineare.
Ma il film e' anche un affresco sociale. Innaritu disseziona il mondo a seconda di tre classi sociali diverse: quella dei senzatetto, quella proletaria, quella borghese. Rivede cosi' i motivi sordidi che animano le loro vite, variando dalla rabbia dei punk di strada all'avidita' degli uomini d'affari. Non c'e' niente di eroico o di epico in questi tipi. Il film e' una piccola galleria di personaggi falliti. La redenzione sembra non esistere nel mondo di Innaritu. E la ragione e' che i personaggo non se la meritano.
I cani non solo le origini delle fondamenta immorali di questi personaggi( gelosia, avidita', vanagloria, egoismo) ma sono anche il simbolo di come questi umani veramente si comportano.
In ultimo questo e' un saggi sulla violenza. La violenza non e'il mezzo per sviluppare la storia, e' il tema centrale della storia. Il film e' una lezione inquietante su tutto cio' che e' la violenza