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Roma nails all of the technical notes: the cinematography is beautiful and obviously garnered a lot of care and attention, the sound design is spectacular (I watched it on my phone and listened with my headphones and the depth and "3D" sound effect was great, I can only imagine what it would be like in a theater or with surround sound), the acting is pretty good (The main actress absolutely nails subtle emotions and facial expressions, but any real crying felt a insincere), and even though I absolutely hate black & white being used as an "artistic expression", Roma still feels colorful. My only issue is with the story. There really isn't much to begin with and what you do get, you kind of have to scrape together. With zero knowledge of Mexico's political situations or economics in the 1970's I can only make broad assumptions about what's going on in the background of the film. There is some kind of protest that keep coming up, but I haven't the slightest idea what it's about, who it's between, or if it's even relevant to the story, but knowing the care they put into everything else in the film, it has to be important, they just don't want to explain it to me and I don't feel like I should have to study Mexican history to understand a movie. There is some sort of "martial arts" group that practices outside in the middle of a town (is it the main character's home town? Maybe. I think so? They don't explain) and there is never any background or explanation given on anything that transpires there. I get that some people don't want movies to "hold their hand" and want to have to sit down and piece together the story, but I want to know what the fuck is happening. The main story is fine. I get what they are going for, but it feels exaggerated and not as profound as other seem to think it is. I have another issue, but I'm not really sure if it's the movie's fault or Netflix's. The English subtitles are not sufficient. Any background conversations or radio broadcasts don't get subtitles, even if nothing else is going on that needs subtitles. I took two years of Spanish, which means I'm at about the level of a dumb two year-old, but I knew enough to notice that they weren't just simplifying the dialog in translation, but eliminating entire sentences. Anytime a conversation gets a little fast, they really cut down how much they are translating and condense way too much. There are times when main characters are talking, with no one else talking, and we still don't get subtitles. Maybe the information I'm missing is in the stuff they don't give me subtitles for. I definitely feel like the radio broadcasts are supposed to be giving me background on the protests and other events, but they don't bother to subtitle them, so I'll never know. The terrible subtitles might be Netflix's fault, so won't hold that against the film, but I don't feel like I got everything out of it that I should have.
By : Greg Mueller | Date : 4 months ago