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In the interests of full disclosure I must admit I only made it half way through this movie. Perhaps that makes my review unfair but on the other hand an hour is surely sufficient time to expect some sort of payback.
We immediately know this is an arthouse movie because a) it is in "black and white" and b) its opening credits are possibly the longest and most boring in cinematic history. Perhaps this was just a cunning and thoughtful ploy to get all the non-arty people out of the movie theater in the first few minutes thereby saving them two hours of wasted time.
Inexplicably other reviewers praise the cinematography. I could not agree less. First there IS no cinematography in the commonly accepted sense. It seems to me that the cinematography is limited to pointing the camera in the general direction of the "action", something that is done adequately for sure but not exactly the height of sophistication and innovation. Second, the movie is in "black and white". There is a reason I put "black and white" in quotations. Real black and white is what people used to make with black and white film, and if you want to see what this looks like, and some REAL cinematography using all the finesse and effects that black and white film allows, you could do a lot worse than watch "The Third Man", a masterclass in the use of lighting. "Roma" has evidently been filmed in colour and someone has clicked the "convert to Black and white" button on some software to produce this insipid parody of black and white. It has such a limited dynamic range there is virtually no contrast and it should more accurately called "grey and white". I found it incredibly difficult to watch and impossible to pick out any detail. Technicalities aside we might reasonably ask why a film set in the 70s should be made in "black and white" at all. What exactly was the point in this decision?
We might equally well ask the same of the plot - was there actually any point? We are presented with about a dozen characters none of whom we get close to. They are all just cardboard cutouts that we see as props rather than characters than we can empathize with and root for. I really don't care about the Doctor and his wife's problems because I don't know who they are. Ditto, the two maids. Where did they come from? Why should I care? We see them go through their daily routines but, well, so what? One of them suddenly finds herself in a hotel room with a virtual stranger waving a curtain rail about. Of course she gets pregnant. But who is she? Why did she just jump into bed with a stranger? We will never know because we don't know her as a person. It is all very intellectual and distant.
Roma is not a "bad" movie as such but it is extremely pretentious and seemingly made for the gratification of the director rather than for an actual audience.
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