The horror of COVID-19 is one that is still affecting us at this very moment. But imagine that horror when you’re a medical professional and have no clue what’s happening. That is the story of the latest documentary about a group of medical professionals at Erasmus University. The story follows the different doctors and nurses who won’t leave the hospital until they get a handle on the horror of this pandemic. What they don’t know is that this is only the beginning of a continuing event. This is a story of real people dealing with a horrifying scenario that is unfolding around them. Clocking in at a little over 70 minutes, this is a film that essentially throws you into the story guerrilla-style. That will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it makes for a worthy patrol of heroism.
This will be less of a typical “review” in the sense of judging filmmakers Pablo Diaz Crutzen and Stijn Deconinck on their filmmaking quality, and more of a salute to them and the fine medical professionals who are still working to treat the virus. For what audiences see, we do get down to the more minute details of what being sick with this pandemic entails. The emotion on display here is truly something limitless due to how these doctors explain things to patients. From calling families to say their loved ones aren’t going to make it, to simply checking on them, you can see the toll on the team. Each of these nurses and doctors share their emotions, but never break away from their ideals of doing right by their patients. The mere ability to trek on through this pandemic will make you really respect our medical professionals.
The amount of footage we get of even the most mundane tasks are what I found to be the most fascinating. There's a lot of heavy material in terms of the procedures, deaths and phone calls to families to let them know their loved one isn’t going to make it. It’s a powerful balance struck in how much emotion the filmmakers want an audience to lean into. For the most part, it works exceptionally well. I will certainly admit that in several of these instances, I cried due to the horrors being faced. I don’t necessarily have any flaws with the film, but there are some warnings I want to give.
If you’re feeling vulnerable, I know this won’t be something you’ll want to see. The lengths taken to show us what a real issue this is, is treated with a lot of care. There is never a belittlement, or question of this being “fake” like some are saying. It’s an idea I found to be quite surprising, based on the real world and news in which we live and listen to. As a change of pace in documentary filmmaking, it’s nice to see something that is treated with such care. It is just the type of film that you have to be ready to experience.
“I Am Not A Hero” is a true example of universality in ideas as well as international patriotism. Although it’s happening in another country, there’s a real comfort found in knowing certain people view it the same way. This is something that I found incredibly surprising and very unexpected. A movie like this is designed to showcase a monstrous experience that even the best people are facing one day at a time. Maybe feeling the same emotions as those professionals is exactly what we all need right now.