WHAT I LIKED: Above all else, Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' is an ode to a place and a culture, as most of its focus is on the intimacies of everyday life and the varied surroundings of 70s Mexico. To study this, the film mostly follows the servant of a fairly affluent family - thereby giving two class perspectives very organically - and finds common ground for the characters within the joys of shared cultural traditions and a developing mistrust of men. But whilst these people are the way in, what you're really looking at and engaging with here is the world around them, as mostly the camera finds its focus away from the people themselves to spend considerable amounts of time simply observing the streets and countryside or conversations over dinner, and there are very few close-ups of characters' faces at all.
But where Roma aims to achieve in this cultural-exploration sense, it does so perfectly, as the standard of the filmmaking on display is truly sublime. Cuaron's tracking camera picks up every fascinating inch of these real environments, whilst -perhaps even more crucially - the sound design brings every sound of this bustling world to life so that it really feels immersive and brilliantly atmospheric. It's that which makes Roma such an impressive piece of work, as where its reach extends, ita cinematic grasp is as strong as it possibly could be.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It is definitely more of a cultural exploration than an engaging thematic or character-study. Oh, and if there's one film that needs to be seen in a cinema this year, it's this... cheers Netflix.
VERDICT: An ode to a fascinating place and culture, Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' uses masterful cinematography and sound design to bring its world to life and immerse you in it. It's a technical masterpiece this, and it really should be seen by all.