Friday, June 21, 2013

Movie Review - Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Martin Scorsese's underrated Bringing Out the Dead recaptures the sleepless nights of Taxi Driver. In this picture, New York City's streets is painted with druggies, gangsters, hookers, pimps, bums, and many other lost souls (Paul Schrader should also be credited for writing the palpable atmosphere).  Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage), a paramedic, teeters between heaven and hell as he works through the hours before dawn.  It is through great depths of tragedy, black humor, and unlikely salvation that Frank discovers the necessities of life and death.

Frank has been working the night shift for countless years.  A dark cloud has fallen over him because he hasn't saved a life in a long time.  His initial love for the job has flipped to hate, having to bear the guilt of each death along the way.  He hasn't slept in days.  

To accompany Frank on this spiritual journey are a series of colorful EMT partners.  Each sidekick distracts their minds in order to suppress the atrocities of the job;  Larry (John Goodman) uses thoughts of what food to eat at their next break, Marcus (Ving Rhames) flirts with one of the dispatchers (Queen Latifah) he went on a blind date with,  and Tom (Tom Sizemore) reacts in aggression by lashing out at those he believes are just out to hurt others.  Bringing Out the Dead is a compelling study of the modern ferrymen who accompany souls across the river to the other side.    

Bringing Out the Dead is available for stream on Netflix.

Rated R for gritty violent content, drug use and language


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