Albeit depressing in subject matter and often with the visuals (and at times VERY strong), I really have to hand it to the team of people who made this movie. Here are a few thoughts:
- I don't think I'll be spoiling it for you to mention the CGI baby - this was a decent move on the part of the filmmakers, but I was a little upset that they decided EVERY shot of the baby would be fake. There were plenty of scenes where they could have employed the puppet, save for this one small oversight...
- Almost EVERY SINGLE SCENE is handheld - I wasn't really paying too much attention, but it happened a lot, and there are a few shots in there with no cuts (but plenty of ADR), some of them extremely long requiring hundreds of extras, humongous sets and lots of rehearsals I'm sure. However, despite the huge budget this film must have had...
- There are less than 10 characters in the film with speaking parts. Cuarón tells an epic tale with a small core of characters, because you can tell that the story we are following is microscopic in size compared to what has been going on in the rest of the world. Still, as in most epics, the simple but directed actions of a few individuals can have a great impact on the rest of the world.
- Back to the handheld, there is another thing Mr. Director has been doing in his films for quite some time -- when going handlheld (as he is apt to do) he likes to follow some ancillary action that doesn't exactly follow our audible or cognitive focus, leading our eyes in one direction, leaving us to wonder "What just happened to the main character?", even if only for a few seconds, he reminds us that there are other people in the scene, at the battle, running for their lives, having a breakdown or what have you. Bravo.
- spoiler: Not that I smoke, but there is a great line in the story spoken by Michael Kane - "They hand this stuff out like candy, but Ganja is still illegal" - referring to a suicide drug that the British government passes out to the population and markets better than an AT&T commercial in the 70's
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