If a film were to be judged solely on its opening shot, Roma would handily deserve all of this year’s best picture honors. Alfonso Cuarón’s curtain-raising quest to eke poetry out of life’s most mundane corners consumes but three minutes of a 135-minute running time. It’s a brilliant setup for what’s to come, but the two hours that lie ahead find moments of schematized repetition that border on gimmickry and cause the mind to disengage and begin drifting almost as much as Cuaron’s camera. Round and round the interior scenes it goes, where the oscillating lens stops, nobody knows. The black-and-white ‘Scope images have the makings of a fine coffee table book, but at 24 fps, very little about these characters and their soap opera existence is compelling to watch. And the one-two punch of coincidence that caps the film's big set piece contains the type of plotting one expects from a Telenovela, not a film garnering this much critical attention.
Length: 2 hours, 15 minutes