Amores Perros is a yappy whelp compared to this striking degrees-of-separation drama by Mexican writer-director Gerardo Naranjo, who uses a fleet mobile camera and flexible 'Scope framing to capture the seedy volatility of off-the-guidebook Acapulco. Naranjo opens with a bravura sequence that follows cruelly suave Chano (Emilio Valdés) and his furious ex Fernanda (Diana Garcia) from a bitter restaurant reunion to a white-hot hate-fuck in her dad's mansion. From there, Naranjo intertwines their meeting with the fates of a suicidal businessman (Fernando Becerril), Fernanda's enraged boyfriend (Juan Pablo Castaneda), and most memorably, Tigrillo (Miriana Moro), a teenage would-be hustler who hasn't quite hardened into a casual user and discarder of suckers. With Tobias Datum's camerawork giving the images a subtle matte finish of grit and grain, the movie creates a jittery, eroticized tension, and Naranjo doesn't over-hype the connections between his stories of misspent youth and squandered life. Like Chano, the movie hums with sexed-up voltage, and it's just as hard, handsome, and shifty.
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