Film Review – Collective (2019)


Title – Collective (2019)

Director – Alexander Nanau (Nothingwood)

Cast – Razvan Lutac, Mirela Neag, Catalin Tolontan, Vlad Voiculescu

Plot – A documentary that follows a group of Romanian reporters/investigators that are looking into the countries’ diabolical hospital system following a devastating nightclub fire.

“When the press bows down to the authorities, the authorities will mistreat the citizens”

Review by Eddie on 27/07/2021

Winner of over 25 local and international awards and recently nominated in both the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary feature categories at this years Academy Awards, Collective is the little Romanian doco that could, as it works to shine a light on some horrifying components of the Romanian healthcare system as well as a stark reminder to us all of the importance of the role of high-class journalism in our “fake news” filled world.

Born out of the ashes of an horrific incident in Romanian history where countless victims of a terrifying nightclub fire highlighted the countries inadequate and shockingly inept health system and those that are in charge of ensuring things are done decently and in order, Collective is like a Hollywood thriller in the way it acts as a fly on the wall like account of journalist Catalin Tolotan (a genuine everyday hero) and his teams quest to hold authorities and companies accountable for years worth of neglect and criminal activity.

Its the type of plot you wouldn’t dare conjure up as an act of fiction in fear of people calling the narrative out as far-fetched but Collective takes many twists and turns along its runtime and as the true horrors of Romania’s issues come to the forefront, you will be left with your jaw on the floor on multiple occasions in what is a real life story that feels like it could never and should never have been allowed to become what it did.

There’s a no fuss like approach to Nanau’s direction of everything that occurs throughout Collective, in many ways almost anyone could’ve filmed Collective and it may’ve benefited slightly from a more imaginative approach but in some ways also the barebones approach to telling this story allows the focus of the film to remain where it needed too as we the audience are given an insight to a problem I am sure many around the world had never even heard of.

Key also to the film is the likeability and smarts of both Catalin Tolotan and temporary health minister (getting one of the toughest gigs you’d ever care to imagine being given) Vlad Voiculescu, both gentleman make for strong central presences in the film and lights in an otherwise dark climate that they are battling. Their mindsets and commitment a reminder that even in such horrific situations, the best of humanity can prevail.

Final Say –

A confronting, shocking and unique documentary, Collective may not be a polished product but its a must-watch piece of journalistic filmmaking and an important player in the story of Romania as it looks to overcome years worth of detrimental activities to finally move forward with a sense of justice and purpose.

4 press conferences out of 5 

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