Ever since his debut Amores perros (2000) seemed to herald the arrival of the next Scorsese, the career of Alejandro González Iñárritu has infuriated some and invigorated others. Indeed, the rift between Iñárritu’s fans and detractors is indicative of differing cinematic outlooks: those who like their movies with Big Themes and grandiose dramatic moments, and those who like their movies a little spontaneous, unpredictable, about more than character and theme. The visceral intensity of Amores perros makes it easy to forget that its characters are empty archetypes and its story overindulgent in tragic melodrama. Same with his subsequent films 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), and Biutiful (2010), all of which have the same central problem (especially horrendous in 21 Grams): they’re so worried about appearing serious and meaningful that they lose grasp of anything human or alive. They’re weighty dramas about the human condition that seem to know very little about it.
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