This review by Robert Loerzel originally appeared in Pioneer Press.
A fictional feature that seems as real as a documentary, this Romanian film follows a poor, ailing man’s night-long odyssey through a maze of ambulances and hospitals leading to the inevitable ending foretold by the title. Along the way, he encounters some health-care workers who are sympathetic and others who are jaded or rude, as well as plenty of red tape. It’s chilling how much the Romanian medical system resembles that of the United States. The unflinching “Mr. Lazarescu” is presented so straightforwardly that it feels dispassionate at first — almost like a videotape from a hospital security camera — and yet, as it documents a cold and inhumane system at work, it becomes a deeply moving expression of human compassion.