Wednesday, November 18, 2020

COLLECTIVE Film Review November 18, 2020


Reviewed: 11/18/2020
Magnolia Pictures
Rating: 5 / 5 

Opens at the (virtual) SIFF Film Center:  11/20/2020

(Theatrical one-sheet for COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

The documentary “Collective” had me go from relaxing on my couch at the start of the film to literally sitting on the edge of my seat for the rest of it. It was that good.

The film centers around the aftermath of a horrific fire in a music club in Romania where many people perished. Those that were injured were rushed to nearby hospitals where even more victims eventually passed away.

A team of journalists at a sports gazette started looking into the cause of the fire, lack of exits, etc. and it created a national politically driven story. When the hospital burn victims started to die at an alarming rate, they continued their investigation into the causes. The bulk of the film takes off from there. As always I don’t like to give away too many plot points in my reviews.

(Tedy Ursuleanu in COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. ©Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe 2019. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

“Collective” looks at the corruption in the hospital system in Romania, along with the political motives behind it. It is a daring and down right brutal look at a system gone wrong for decades. And the patients pay the price with their lives.

The look at the journalists and their desire to find the truth is inspiring. You feel their defeats, their frustrations, and their triumphs. The healthcare workers that can’t in good conscience work under those barbaric conditions any longer pull at the viewers heartstrings as well.

It boils down to what’s right and what’s wrong. And the uphill battle for those fighting the good fight.

(A scene from COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. ©Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe 2019. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

There is painful beauty in the survivors' tales who are trying to carry on with their lives. The families of the victims and their sorrow is also incorporated into the film.

The power of film is clearly on display in “Collective”. There were times I almost felt like I was watching a fictional film, where the characters are trying to uncover the truth only to be foiled by the powers that be. But, this was not a work of fiction. This was a documentary about human lives lost in a system that bowed down to the all mighty political dollar.

Highly recommended.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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