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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome: 31.4%
Worth A Look: 18.18%
Average33.88%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 7.44%

10 reviews, 61 user ratings


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Bringing Out the Dead
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Mr. Scorsese, may I suggest a Valium?"
3 stars

It's a little difficult to summarize the plot-outline of "Bringing Out the Dead," because that was one of the things the film didn't have a definitive feel for. Martin Scorsese's latest opus was based on the novel by Joe Connelly, and the script was by Paul Schrader, a past collaborator with Scorsese ("The Last Temptation of Christ," "Raging Bull," "Taxi Driver"). But throughout the film, it retains a very novelized feeling, especially when it came to Nicolas Cage's narration. Words and articulation were forced, fake, and obviously scripted, and audiences seem to be too far ahead of this one.

Nicolas Cage plays Frank Pierce, an EMS paramedic roaring around the streets of NYC. It's been a while since he's saved anyone, and it's starting to take a toll on him. He's losing sleep, finding no time for a life, and is haunted by the ghost of a young teen he was unable to save. "Bringing Out the Dead" takes place over three days of Frank's life, during which he starts to fall in love with Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette), the daughter of a coronary attack victim he brought in, and is coupled with some mighty weird and oddball-ish medics (Ving Rhames, John Goodman, Tom Sizemore) as he flies through each night.

There was some concept to the film, but it felt more as if the random days really had nothing to say, and were just extracted chapters. The characters were very interesting to watch -- they're what make the film worthwhile -- and the actors were very good. Nicholas Cage proves himself as usual, and is very convincing, and Arquette (his off-screen wife) was an undeniably strong screen presence (though her other films this year left less to be desired). Other stand-outs were Ving Rhames (no surprise), Goodman, and Latino singer Marc Anthony. Aside from some very well-scripted humor, the actors are what made the film!

Scorsese knows what he's doing, but in this case he was stuck with a dead-end script (with dead-end ideas and Red Herrings, like the Red Death drug which served no purpose). His last film, "Kundun," was much better because it was much more of a personal film. In "Bringing Out the Dead," he succumbs to all the 90s stylized shots -- with the quick edits, shaky cam, time condensed shots, etc. When these techniques were first being used, they appeared to be very cool and "in," but now, with every other film using it, it has become annoying and only detracts from the film.

While watching Scorsese go through all the same motions, I wanted to feed him a valium or take away his defibrilators! It was unnecessary to go MTV on us, but for better or worse, the film does work for its characters and actors.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1970&reviewer=172
originally posted: 11/01/99 14:44:23
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell bringing out the boredom too it blows 1 stars
3/17/15 PAUL SHORTT EXCITING, IMMACULATELY CRAFTED AND EXHILARATINGLY PACED 4 stars
10/07/13 David An absolutely wonderful film 5 stars
9/17/13 mr.mike One of Scorcese's lesser films. 3 stars
8/19/09 Jeff Wilder Effective. Not on the level of Taxi Driver or Goodfellas. But still takes a piece out. 4 stars
11/27/08 CTT Not Scorsese's best, but still watchable 4 stars
12/17/05 Jeff Anderson Very disappointing. See Scott Ziehl's brilliant BROKEN VESSELS instead, a MUCH better film! 2 stars
8/23/05 ES Could have been better 3 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands One of the darkest movies I've ever found funny. Good, riveting stuff from Sir Scorsese. 5 stars
5/25/05 Jake Disappointing effort from Martin Scorsese 3 stars
3/08/05 Mason great remake of Taxi Driver, should have been called Ambulace Driver 4 stars
12/29/04 Steve Newman Could not get into this film - worth a watch only 4 stars
6/27/03 cochese Being a Paramedic, I can say this movie is disturbing- yet it is entertaining. 4 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Visually interesting but emotionally aloof. Cage is merely adequate. 2 stars
1/13/03 Stevo not one of the better scorceses, but still an engrossing, traumatic, very good movie 4 stars
6/14/02 erick an absolutly amazing fillm 5 stars
4/06/02 Junshi For some reason, all I remember was how much I laughed. 3 stars
3/05/02 natasha an almost religious experience; visually stunning and emotionally wrenching 5 stars
11/21/01 daniboy amazing. even marc anthony. 5 stars
9/05/01 Butterbean Great cinematography, great director, aimless movie 3 stars
8/29/01 Sarah No heros here, just normal ppl trying to get through their day sane 4 stars
7/03/01 J My 1st experience with Scorsese and I wonder if this will be my best. 5 stars
11/23/00 Kimberly Joubert wonderful enlighting scorsese film 4 stars
11/18/00 2sleeepy great sound effects 5 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 very dark and very good M.S. and Cage at their best 5 stars
9/30/00 Jed Clearly one of the best films of 1999. I hope M.S's other films are this good. 5 stars
8/28/00 Add Very powerful, excellent visuals, great performances but maybe 2 different 4 some people. 4 stars
7/14/00 Bruce Scorsese shows that he still has it. 5 stars
7/02/00 Trina M. Barnard the dumbest movie I've ever saw, turn it off it was so boring. 1 stars
6/29/00 Monday Morning Nic at Nite...or anytime...is good. Film was pointless though. 3 stars
6/26/00 stranded on the Island Great acting on this one; don't expect typical hollywood (i.e. fluff) though! 5 stars
6/20/00 Ulatekk Two hours of my life I will never get back... 1 stars
6/12/00 Andrew Incredible 5 stars
6/04/00 Dallastech I sucked because of the plot or shall i saw lack of..... 2 stars
5/21/00 Jess Damn good performances and visual stimulation. 4 stars
5/18/00 michael visually stunning, wonderful sound, great script what more do you want?! 5 stars
5/13/00 The Bomb 69 scorsese was all over the place and most of it sucked 2 stars
5/12/00 Overflow Bitch Sensational. Dark yet inspiring. Cage is incredible as usual. 5 stars
4/25/00 John Lyons Absolute waste of Nick Cage! Wasted my money on this one. 1 stars
4/24/00 Belinda I walked out - RUBBISH 1 stars
2/22/00 toneely the worst movie ever..HORRIBLE 1 stars
1/14/00 Matthew Bartley Remove Arquette and it would be damn near perfect. 5 stars
12/11/99 xiong But how to explain Patricia Arquette's career? 4 stars
11/28/99 Chet Patel Great film about a man questioning his life, and what he has accoplished in his job? 4 stars
11/23/99 PJ Visually brilliant and intense. Not his best, but better than most of h'wood's other shit. 5 stars
11/09/99 pipeman Scorsese shoots, he misses. He really fucking misses. Ack! Ptui! 1 stars
11/09/99 Dominique This was more frustrating than entertaining or enlightening. Shame! Shame! Shame! 1 stars
11/06/99 Roman No real plot but had some funny moments 3 stars
11/02/99 shiraz hallucinatory taxi driver on speed; critics love it but watch it only for film class 3 stars
11/02/99 PhilmPhreak It was OK, but no Taxi Driver. 3 stars
11/01/99 john worst movie Ive seen in years 1 stars
10/31/99 C.A.T.M. Maybe it's getting better ratings than it deserves, but it was intense never-the-less. 4 stars
10/29/99 Hojo Premium stuff from Cage, Sizemore, Rhames, & Goodman, & a well-made (if boring) story 4 stars
10/27/99 Mr Showbiz Stunning to look at, but dramatically unfulfilling. 4 stars
10/27/99 Gi & Ty Almost all of the ten people in the theater were sleeping and bored out of their minds 2 stars
10/27/99 Linda W I liked the camera work alot the theme was to schizoid and frantic I needed a valium. 3 stars
10/26/99 TheAngryMob This movie was great!!! 5 stars
10/26/99 Max Lethal Good, but left me feeling like I deserved more... 3 stars
10/25/99 danimal super cool, and good to see M.S. back 5 stars
10/24/99 Janet Hold on, Lady, we go for a ride! Cage at his edginess. 5 stars
10/23/99 gezick style, in the ultimate, never since Taxi Driver have we seen such exquisite fast motion 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Oct-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Apr-2000 (R)




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