Deadly cure

|
()

He may have the world's largest collection of Kim Wilde posters on his apartment walls, but caterpillar-browed Mr. Lazarescu (Ion Fiscuteanu) is no kid in America: He's an aging drunk in Romania with a ruined liver and a rupturing brain. And Bucharest on a Saturday night is no place to be when you've got the headache and stomachache from hell — in fact, its medical system is a many-leveled modern day approximation of exactly that infernal pit, which is probably why the first name of the title character in Christi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is Dante.
Overtly labeled an anti-ER by its maker, and about as far away from Superman Returns as you can get inside a movie theater this week, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu doesn't exactly sound like fun: The film follows the booze-pickled Lazarescu out of his fleabag apartment as gruff but ultimately sympathetic paramedic Mioara (Luminita Gheorghiu) wheels this supposed GOMER — get out of my emergency room — from one hospital to another, while both are verbally abused by sluggish doctors and nurses. Yet Puiu's movie is primarily a sharp and multifaceted black comedy, from slow-coder Lazarescu's mouthiness early in the journey to the off-the-cuff yet detailed portraits of his eccentric neighbors and the successive “caregivers

Also from this author

  • Sounds of summer

    Concert and music festival highlights from air guitar to Woodsist this season 

  • Soul sounds

    The Weeknd and Hype Williams navigate music and identity in 2011

  • Snap Sounds: Jessica 6

  • Also in this section

  • Con and on

    Thrilling, stylish Highsmith adaptation 'The Two Faces of January'

  • Cel mates

    Mill Valley Film Festival screens vintage and innovative animated features

  • Bridgeworthy

    More Mill Valley Film Festival picks