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Death of Mr. Lazarescu
DVD disk
Oct 10, 2006 By: Sturdy
Death of Mr. Lazarescu order
Director:
Cristi Puiu

Actors:
Luminita Gheorghiu
Ion Fiscuteanu
Gabriel Spahiu

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A lonely man feels ill on a Saturday night and calls for an ambulance. He slowly learns that his neighbors and the various local hospitals dont care about his health and the results are a long journey to get proper medical care.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
In the DEATH OF MR LAZARESCU, the audience is taken on a journey through the healthcare system in the eyes of a lonely alcoholic and the paramedic that got stuck with him. Its a rough journey for Mr. Lazarescu and the audience because not much happens for either. Were thrown right into the story, so theres little or no back story on our main characters, which makes the journey that much more difficult since we dont really care what happens.

At times, I found myself checking the DVD player to make sure it was running in regular speed and not slow motion. It has kind of a real time effect, but in a 2.5 hour black comedy, that can be murderous. Every scene dragged on and this could have easily been edited to about 90 minutes. The acting also left a lot to be desired and there were many instances where it seemed like there wasnt a script. Also, if I were a millionaire, I would buy every Romanian director a tri-pod in hopes it would prevent them from using the shaky-cam technique. Sure, it was great in THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but it has no place in a 2.5 hour drama.

It clearly takes its shots at the healthcare system in Europe and America. Its nothing we dont already know, but I dont think the director was efficient in making his points. We all know every healthcare system has its problems, but it was nice to know that doctors are a-holes everywhere and not just in the US. However, Id like to give the benefit of the doubt that even the worst doctor would put in a little overtime rather than let someone die. There were also a lot of points that were made repeatedly, rather than giving the audience something new at every hospital. Every time Mr. Lazarescu went to a new place, we started the movie over. Rather than showing us the same problems, throw in some new ones, like finances, social class, red tape, and other factors that can prevent people from obtaining health care.
THE EXTRAS
Interview with the Director (45:41): This is a one on one with Cristi Puiu. Its very long, and he talks more about his own directing philosophies than he does the film. Apparently, this is one of six ideas he had for a movie. Lets hope the others arent as long.

Perspective on the US Healthcare system by Dr. Fred Berlin (12:08): Dr. Berlin compares the film to the healthcare system in the US. He has a tendency to repeat himself a lot, but basically he likes the US system, but thinks it needs some changes.

There are also some Text Featurettes.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I know Lazarescu had its fair share of critical acclaim, but this critic was very bored and didnt care at all about the characters. The movie dragged on and it was a rough way to spend 2.5 hours. If you want a taste of how bad the healthcare system is, go to your local emergency room.
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