Ridiculously Underrated Movie Deserves Second Look on DVD
T.S. Morris | Austin, Texas United States | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bringing Out the Dead is one of Martin Scorsese's better movies. It is not quite up to the level of Mean Streets, Goodfellas, or Raging Bull; but is is better than most of his other works. Personally, I liked it more than Taxi Driver, the movie to which it is most often compared, but it may be too early to tell which is truly the better film. Nicholas Cage gives the best performance of his career, and the other actors are perfect for their roles. My favorites were Tom Sizemore, Cliff Curtis, Mary Beth Hurt and Ving Rhames. The screenplay is much better than it got credit for being, and is thought provoking, darkly hilarious, and maybe even profound. As expected, the cinematography and film editing are astounding, and the soundtrack is amazing. No other director could have handled this material as well as Martin Scorsese. So many other directors would have made it into some kind of tearjerker, but he takes a huge risk by making it funny (this risk didn't seem to pay off commercially, as BOTD didn't do too well at the box office)as well as dramatic. This was one of the very best movies of 1999 and it deserves to be remembered for years to come."
As perfect as life itself....
strdogmoon | 05/17/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Life is not perfect and neither is this film. Having been a 911 dispatcher at one time and now, having just watched this movie twice, I can tell you that that is the whole point. Closer to "Taxi Driver" than any of Scorsese's other films, this movie is far better: Better camera work, better screenplay, better supporting actors, and more interesting and sympathetic characters. For those of you who like a movie that ties everything up in a nice little bow - this ain't it! If you want to see a movie that treats you like an intelligent human being and challenges you, then see it. I liked how this movie presents it's characters with ambivalence, not in Hollywood stereotype. The viewer gets to develop his or her own perceptions of the characters and events.This movie is adapted from a book of the same name by Joe Connelly. It follows paramedic Frank Pierce over the course of 3 hot night shifts in a scummy part of NYC, and he is gradually coming apart at the seams. Nicolas Cage gives such an honest, moving, and believable portrayal of Frank that it's amazing. In other roles, John Goodman is his first partner and is (as usual) instantly engaging and interesting. Ving Rhames is Frank's second partner and he gives a stirring, forceful and poetic performance - larger than life yet still believable. Tom Sizemore then comes along as that crazy guy you knew at some point in your life and you can't believe he wound up a paramedic. I have to deduct one star for Patricia Arquette's performance: Compared to the performances of everyone else it seemed she was "acting" while they were "being".I suggest watching "Bringing Out The Dead" twice, because the first time around it may seem to have no real ending. But, if you look at the movie as you would look at real life, you'll see their's only one true ending."
Another classic from Scorsese!
strdogmoon | 03/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The opening of Martin Scorsese's latest film, "Bringing Out The Dead", shows a weary eyed Nicolas Cage driving an ambulance during the haunting late night hours in Hell's Kitchen. Van Morrison is playing as the opening credits role. You know your watching Scorsese doing what he does best. The film is about a medic and how he copes with his late night hours and his inability to sleep due to being haunted by ghosts. The story also leaves room for interesting characters played by a great cast including Ving Rhames, Patricia Arquette, Tom Siezmore, John Goodman, and Marc Anthony (yes, the singer). This film is being compared to Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and having Paul Schrader writing the script, it seems fitting. But the film is all on its own. It wouldn't be any different had "Taxi Driver" not been released despite that it is not quite as good. It is definately Nicolas Cage's best film and another great addition to Scorsese's list of classic films."
Soul Purging Realism
J. Thompson | USA | 11/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I should start this with a disclaimer...bad behaviour is bad behaviour, and drunken criminal activities are far from the norm in EMS. However, if you put this movie in context, a true "insiders" context, it serves much the same purpose as the original book: cathartic release of the BS that builds up over years of cleaning up society's messes. As a long time paramedic who has worked in big city EMS for several cities I have to say this movie digs down almost a little too deeply into the dregs of my psyche. The movie gets it right, if not in a documentary like depiction of a real "day in the life", it is an excellent glimpse into the mind of a medic who needs some time off and shows you all the reasons why. Anyone who is considering a career in EMS should avoid this movie...it's really not this bad most of the time. Anyone already in EMS should see this movie with a bunch of your co-workers, you'll laugh your a$& off."
Scorsese returns to familiar turf and succeeds again.
David Grant | Lancaster, PA USA | 03/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is exhiliarating filmmaking. Gorgeously shot and masterfully directed, Martin Scorsese teams up with screenwriter Paul Schrader to create a tale simliar (yet strikingly different) from their first collaboration, the amazing 'Taxi Driver'. Comparisons between the two films are inevitable: both have lead characters near the point of breaking who patrol the streets nightly (De Niro is a taxi cab and here, Nicolas Cage in an ambulance) briefly walking into people's live, each unable to connect with anyone. Cage's character spends each night patroling the streets of New York City, trying desperately to save lives but failing. He has been on a bad streak, patients seem to keep dying on him. He is haunted by the ghost of a young girl who shows up in front of his eyes, almost constantly, asking 'why did you kill me?'. He is assigned to increasingly unhinged partners (John Goodman, Ving Rhames, and Tom Sizemore... all perfect), begs to be fired, and falls for the daughter of a stroke victim (Patricia Arquette, convincingly torn and broken). It is a harrowing film, complete with many grisly scenes, and could easily be the most depressing film ever made. But Scorsese has other plans. The film is very much about redemption and salvation. About saving one's soul and how hard it is to do just that. Carrying us through it all is Nicolas Cage's wonderful performance, a walking time-bomb fueled by guilt and lonliness. The DVD edition is super-light on extras. No commentary track, just a few trailers and interviews. But the startling picture quality is enough to warrant it's purchase. A film this alive and hallucinatory benefits from the clarity of DVD. This is Scorsese's finest work outside of his usual ganster foree and should be seen by his fans and non-fans alike. It is a nightmare of a dream come true."