xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
It must be like this with many people, and not just in Romania. A smelly old drunk calls for an ambulance after having a headache for four days. The ambulance service asks him so many questions he doubts they believe him, and he asks his neighbors for help. They stretch him out on a sofa, ask him how he feels and complain about the stink of his cats. They call the ambulance again.
"The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" will follow this dying man for most of the night, as he gradually slips away from the world and the world little notices. The movie is not heartless but it is matter-of-fact, and makes no attempt to heighten the drama. In its relentless gaze at exactly what happens, it reminds me of the Dardenne brothers ("The Son," "L'Enfant"), whose films see everything but do not intervene.
Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) has long lived in his cluttered Bucharest apartment. He has a sister in a nearby town, and a child in Canada, neither much concerned with him. He gives such information to his neighbors, while slowly drifting out of contact with reality. Then the ambulance arrives, with the attendant and the driver Leo (Gabriel Spahiu). In the course of this night, they will take him to four hospitals. It is a long night and a long film, but not a slow one, because we are drawn so deeply into it.
At hospitals, the obviously incompetent Mr. Lazarescu is asked to fill out forms, sign consents and answer questions he does not understand. Each hospital suggests sending him to another one. He is nevertheless given a scan which reveals a blood clot on his brain, and a problem with his liver that "nobody," a doctor observes, "is going to be able to do anything about." One of the CT scan technicians almost rejoices: "These neoplasms are Discovery Channel stuff!"