Kenneth Branagh’s wildly over-praised Belfast is similar to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma in three respects — black-and-white cinematography, focus on a family, violent political conflict affecting the basic climate.

The difference is that Branagh seems afraid of turning off the cinematic low-brows with a sudden plunge into monochrome, so he begins his 1969 tale in the glorious digital present, showing Belfast’s brilliant colors and upgraded commercial center, all spiffy and rockin’ to some punchy tune.

Only after the audience has been sated with the colorful safety of now for two full minutes does Branagh summon the resolve to commit to black-and-white and the Belfast that once was.

Cuaron, of course, started his film in monochrome from the get-go and stayed with it.