Opinion: Alfonso Cuaron is too good for his own good.
I, much like many of you, follow film. I watch behind the scenes/making-of documentaries, study composition, watch B-roll from film sets, listen to criterion commentary tracks, basically I am a 100% card-carrying movie geek. I say this to gently preface that I have always had a slight detachment to Alfonso Cuaron films.
Most of his films are objectively brilliant. The fact that I am finding it necessary to write a whole review to explain why I didn’t give this a 5-star perfect score should illustrate how amazing I think this film is.
With that being said, the bold and intricate way in which he crafts his films is frankly distracting. During moments were I should be crying with the protagonist, or feeling tense at the stakes of a pivotal moment, I instead find myself thinking “How the f*#% is he getting this shot”, and “Where is this? Did they actually build this set?! OMG I think they built this set” , and “Wow… I don’t think he’s cut in the last 45 seconds, not once, how the hell did they choreograph this?”.
Now listen, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this may just be me but I don’t think it is. There are films of masterful craftsmanship that don’t have this effect on me, filmmakers that have me so locked into the characters and plot that I don’t even think about the logistics of the filmmaking until after the credits appear. Those films are the ones that have the biggest impact on me. This personal phenomenon is not exclusive to Cuaron but it is a recurring event throughout his filmography. Whether it’s the car attack sequence in Children Of Men, or the the debris field sequence in Gravity, or the beach scene in Roma, I’m always jolted from the story in appreciation of the technicality. Am I the only one feeling this?
P.s. I’m going to give this a more conventional review/analysis upon my second viewing. It definitely deserves it.