SPOILERS for Roma,so please check the movie out before reading the review!
Alfonso Cuaron is an interesting filmmaker to discuss. Children Of Men was a “Story Setup Simmer” in a depressing future (until the 3rd Act),and Gravity taught me that the best experiences often don’t really need a story. Now with Roma (the new Netflix movie) he tackled something I wouldn’t expect (aside the technical aspect,but that’s for later): He made a movie that a director like Steve McQueen (Widows,Shame) would be proud.
In fact,the screenplay takes a bit too much time to set up a situation,for example,and get away with it really fast,and the presentation of this family feels like a metropolis at home,especially for the main character we’re following throughout the whole picture,Cleo (played by Yalitza Aparicio). And the screenplay sets her up to be a presence...Until the last half of the 2nd Act,where,aside from her presence,the screenplay dumps everything onto the garbage bin (for example,her best friend ignores her only to go in a more menacing road,the baby of hers was born dead...I mean,it goes deep in a heartbeat),only for that to be an excuse so that the family she works for loves her (and,in context,it makes sense,given that this family got separated from their father,who was basically an imbecile during its screen-time).
I mean,what I said feels like another A+ Steve McQueen movie: slow buildup to a situation,the fact we follow this person for the whole movie,the fact that sometimes it feels like a short.
But that didn’t mean I was disappointed with the screenplay (as a whole),as the movie can be a great example of “Character Study”,since it sets Cleo up pretty fast instead of waiting 15-30 Minutes for a new character root. And it has a pretty emotional weight to it whenever it tries to take a break and let some characters breathe (when Cleo’s baby was considered dead,I was clenching my fists scared in the seat).
Alright,now for the technical aspect… This may be the best use of Dolby Atmos+Vision in a movie this year. The use of Dolby Vision was perfect in every frame,as this is bound to be one of the few inspirations for my comicbook drawings (since I’m trying to approach a style almost like that),and also because it definitely feels like a fantastic Throwback Thursday to the golden days of Black and White Movies. And sound mix in Dolby Atmos is flawless in every detail. Sound always flows in every speaker,and it manages to get really intense without having one of those bass-thumping moments. This may be the closest thing to a true 360° Sound Field (what Atmos is made for). Also,pay attention,because sometimes the mix will drop an important piece of story when you’ll be looking at the fantastic cinematography.
Look,I’m not saying Roma is bad or horrible as an Alfonso Cuaron movie,because there are some damn good things about it (and some inspirational ones,at times). Problem was just the fact that the screenplay was disappointing,because I didn’t expect such a grandiose screenplay that just feels like it’s in the wrong movie. Still,watch the movie. You’ll probably enjoy it better than me.
But ending just like “Children Of Men” with a “Shantih Shantih Shantih” was an awesome touch to the end credits.