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(Romania, English subtitles): This fascinating documentary follows a sharp investigative journalism team that began by investigating a fire at a nightclub in Romania that killed about two dozen young people but went on to claim nearly 40 additional lives. This movie reminded me of the wonderful film Spotlight several years ago based on the team who cracked the story about one of the cardinals accused of sexually abusing boys. While that was a reenactment of the story, Collective is a documentary that follows the team as piece together several seemingly unrelated events – the nightclub fire, the resignation of the minister of health, the death of a pharmaceutical executive – and uncover political corruption that extended into the highest levels of government. The story is exciting to watch as the various events unfold, using real-time video and archival footage. The film has gaps; for example, the way it is presented, it seems that the evidence they needed just fell into their laps more often than it probably would have in reality. However, the film provides compelling commentary on the importance of independent and investigative journalism and the journalists who work to stay focused on discovering the truth. It is a film whose message rings very true in the United States as well during this era of waning confidence in the media.

About Gary Burkholder

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