Collective (2019) Review

Collective (2019) - IMDb

From the opening scenes and the shocking footage of the tragedy at the very heart of Collective, you realise you are watching something important. What follows though is an impressive deep dive and unprecedented look at both the impact of the press and the shocking corruption, lack of standards within healthcare and the lack of representation for the victims within Romania.

The fire at the nightclub in Romania, which injured and killed many, is a shocking event in itself but once investigations occur into why these deaths happened and more importantly, why so many of the burn victims died in hospital after, you will be stunned by the revelations. This is only part of what makes the documentary so compelling. The way these scandals are uncovered is through fantastic journalism.

Collective (2019) | MUBI

The movie gives an in-depth, complete behind-the-scenes account of how the journalists worked to uncover the scandals at the heart of Romanian healthcare. Whether they always knew this was going to be an important documentary or by complete chance, we see the meetings to decide strategy, the uncovering of information provided by anonymous sources and most shockingly of all, the moments when journalists confront politicians about their discoveries. We actively see changes in Government officials because of the journalism.. It is as thrilling as any political movie which would struggle for the authenticity this movie has.

The issue comes when the movie shifts from the journalists to the politicians tasked with making the changes now the truth has been unearthed. This becomes a new story in itself, one of barriers at every stage and of course more revelations but by the people now within the system. Unfortunately, this half is not as interesting compared to the half that preceded it and it becomes a drawn-out process with little new to add.

Collective (2019) - IMDb

Which also means that Collective doesn’t have the satisfactory ending you would hope for. As a showcase for the power of the press and why freedom of the media should be protected, Collective is a very important movie.

Overall, Collective will shock viewers. From the opening shots of the fire in the Romanian nightclub to the constant revelations that bring changes to the Government, this is an all-access retelling of the key event and the political changes that followed. The second half struggles to maintain the momentum but Collective does showcase the importance of the media effectively.

Rating – 4

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Amy Taubin on Alexander Nanau's Collective - Artforum International

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