Roma is a bizarre film which I was really looking forward to, but which veers beyond essential and quite the opposite, mainly because it’s at its best when we follow the story of live-in maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio, above), but then feels rather baggy when the focus is on other characters, as their family-based stories are nowhere near as engaging.
Amongst the peaks and troughs, it hooked me in surprisingly well initially, even though you spend the first four minutes just staring at a floor, which is being washed, and you only see the water sweeping across it periodically as the open credits roll.
There is also one hell of a scene with a juxtaposition between a particular shop, and the goings on outside of political unrest.
However, for quite some time, in the establishing scenes, there is dialogue, but it’s mostly inconsequential, until we get into the meat of the story (such that it is) when Cleo begins dating Fermin, who proves he’s very ‘fermin’ bed, resulting in Cleo becoming pregnant, but then makes for a very ne’er-do-well boyfriend…
And the wall of stuffed dogs’ heads, of all the canines who used to live with the family, over the decades, is rather disconcerting.
Overall, Roma is certainly interesting to watch, and there’s well-chorographed long, single takes, as is Cuaron’s calling card, but for parts of the film, it’s lacking in engaging story as I’ve stated, and just doesn’t hold together as well as I’d have expected, following the trailer which featured Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig In The Sky; and for me, certainly in comparison to the director’s other films that I’ve seen, Gravity and nor Children Of Men.
Expanding on the camera work, most camera shots are either filmed from a fixed camera position that’s static, or one that is in a fixed position but pans slowly across each room back and forth as required; and sometimes as a tracking shot, along a road, for example. “Gentle” is the word, in those cases.
All that said, there is a part of me who thinks I need to give this a second try to see if I can get into it more.
If you enjoyed the film, then you’ll be pleased it looks stunning. The audio is complementary, but it’s not a party piece.
The extras are as follows:
- Road to Roma (72:53): A making-of where the team shot hundreds of hours of on-set footage, setting up shots and with Cuaron struggling with his own childhood memories. And for something that’s so lengthy, the fact this has ZERO chapters to break it up is just bloody ridiculous.
I haven’t checked this out in detail, myself, but big fans of the film will get a lot more out of this than me.
- Snapshots from the Set (32:00): Not a photo album, as I expected, but further ‘making of’ the film.
- The Post-Production Process: The first extra in English dialogue, as they go through the process of shooting a movie in the modern day, but going back to the vision and audio of the ’70s with The Look Of Roma (20:43) and The Sound Of Roma (27:14).
- Roma Brings Us Together: The Theatrical Tour In Mexico (18:32): How the team actually went to the trouble of updating movie theatres in Mexico, so the film could be shown as it’s meant to be seen.
- Trailers: A Trailer (2:05) and Teaser (1:42), both of which are very similar, but only the former features the Pink Floyd track.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The main menu features clips from the film set to the main theme, of Leo Dan’s Te He Prometido. There are 25 chapters, and this disc does things a bit differently, showing us the chapters as either a list, or a timeline – pinpointing where they come during the film (well, roughly, since it doesn’t give you the actual timestamps from the main menu).
Subtitles come in in English, French and Spanish.
Running time: 135 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Released: February 24th 2020
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Widescreen: 2.11:1 (ARRIRAW (6.5K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Producers: Nicolás Celis, Alfonso Cuarón
Screenplay: Alfonso Cuarón
Cleo: Yalitza Aparicio
Sra. Sofía: Marina de Tavira
Toño: Diego Cortina Autrey
Paco: Carlos Peralta
Pepe: Marco Graf
Sofi: Daniela Demesa
Adela: Nancy García García
Sra. Teresa: Verónica García
Ignacio: Andy Cortés
Sr. Antonio: Fernando Grediaga
Fermín: Jorge Antonio Guerrero
Ramón: José Manuel Guerrero Mendoza
Profesor Zovek: Latin Lover
Dra. Velez: Zarela Lizbeth Chinolla Arellano
Pediatra: José Luis López Gómez
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.