Film Review: “Collective” (2020)

Cătălin Tolontan in COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. ©Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe 2019. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Whether it’s the Health Care System or something outside of it, it’s corrupted in every country. But in order to unveil it, a group of investigators will require to go after those individuals. Sadly, for public outrage to occur, an event worse than just a scandal must happen. So the question is, why does it take human casualties for an uproar to take place, when, at the end of the day, the lost lives due to the indifference of government won’t be brought back?

The importance of journalistic integrity, honesty and determination has never been so important as it is nowadays. A fire at a night club in Bucharest, called Collectiv, erupts. With no exits, the fire viciously claims the life of the twenty-seven people. Those who managed to survive, but ended up with severe burns on their skins, are in the hospital. Officials promise to provide care “better than in Germany”, but their patients get nothing except lost lives due to the negligence of the medical staff.

Directed by Alexander Nanau, “Collective” is an impressive real-time documentary film that revolves around the greatest mind of Romania, rather its journalists of Sports Gazette and Catalin Tolontan. The team around the courageous journalist begins an explosive investigation that will lead to government disruption, endless resignations, and the death of the owner of Hexi Pharma and more in revealing the corrupt health system of Romania. Its indifference towards patients, and more importantly the level of neglect that causes the lives of patients who survived the fire in the night club initially but die later in the hospital is mind-boggling.

Stories like in “Collective” serves as an important reminder for the need to have unbiased investigate journalists without whom the government will remain unchecked. It is because of reporters like Tolontan the world is still a better place because we know – the lie won’t have a long life to live. From start to end, the camera follows the survivors of the Collectiv fire, reporters, government and the Romanian people overall, to capture the gripping and emotionally tense moments of history that’s worthwhile remembering.

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