Movie Information

The quest to expose deep-rooted corruption is at the heart of Alexander Nanau’s gripping documentary.
Genre: Documentary
Director: Alexander Nanau
Starring: Catalin Tolontan, Vlad Voiculescu
Rated: NR

Alexander Nanau’s Collective took multiple years to film and complete, yet its tale of deep-rooted corruption feels blisteringly current — and likely will remain so for some time.

The gripping documentary begins shortly after a catastrophic fire at the Bucharest nightclub Colectiv in 2015, a national tragedy that resulted in additional deaths of burn victims who suffered relatively minor injuries. The rising body count prompted reporters at the Sports Gazette to seek answers, and their findings lead to a fascinating series of revelations, each more sickening than the last.

With a few exceptions involving some of the fire’s scarred survivors and family members of the deceased, Collective splits its time between investigative journalist Catalin Tolontan and newly appointed health minister Vlad Voiculescu, both of whom allowed the film crew remarkable access to their closed-door meetings and general professional lives.

While Tolontan and his colleagues expose one corruption after another, Voiculescu deals with the fallout and attempts to make changes from within the government — inspiring efforts that Nanau chronicles as a seemingly invisible observer. Though the proceedings can feel a bit cold and clinical at times, the stories and people are so intriguing that additional stylization is all but unnecessary.

Available to rent starting Nov. 20 via

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA).

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