'Roma' | Film Review
There are a few undeniable things about 'Roma.' It's amongst the most gorgeously shot black and white films on record, which is all the more impressive considering Alfonso Cuarón serves as the film's writer, director, AND cinematographer. There's also no distinguishing between fiction and reality. In particular, the actors in the movie make this slice-of-life film feel like it's a documentary. And finally, if 'Roma' indeed goes on to win the Oscar for Best Picture--right now it's certainly a front-runner--it'll eventually be saddled with the reputation of being undeserving of the honor, much like 'Crash' or 'Shakespeare In Love.'
The bottom line is that no matter how vividly shot a picture may be (*cough cough* Terrence Malick), without an engaging plot, everything else is just cinematic masturbation.
Lastly, a point of privilege: one reviewer fawned over Alfonso Cuarón's camerawork, setting expectations rather high. However, while a number of sequences are indeed wonderfully shot, basic left-to-right or right-to-left pans aren't exactly innovative. For comparison, watch 'Shoplifters' while paying special attention to camera placement and movement. It's nothing short of extraordinary and likely the best camera work of any film this year.