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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.4%
Worth A Look: 18.18%
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 Chris Parry

"Disappointing but only because we expect so damn much."
4 stars

This review should be prefaced by an admission. Nicolas Coppola shits me. Who? You know him, he goes by the name of Nic Cage these days. He's awful. No comedic timing, he can't do drama without infusing his character with bizarre body twitches and Broadway-posturing, and ladies, back me up here, he's butt ugly. Come on, admit it, look at his horse-head. He's a mule. Nic Copolla is an overachieving pile of drek who somehow manages to stay in work. And this is his best role in twenty years.

"A new Martin Scorsese film! Yay!... Hmm. Well, that was... interesting."

In the 70's, Scorsese was total genius - a decade ahead of his time. In the 80's, he was one of the best. In the 90's, he survived on cameos, TV specials and one 'big' film every three or four years, mostly underachieving epics that might not have made a cent if they hadn't been "Scorsese films". With the days of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas but a memory, and a new millenium zooming in fast, it was time for Marty to show us all that a Scorsese film still stands above the competition in style, content and grace.

Unfortunately, with Bringing Out The Dead, he's proved none of those things. He's tried to take the best of the 70's and mix it with the pace of the 90's and it's a bit of a dog's breakfast. Scorsese has gone all Trainspotting on our asses, but the world has moved on, baby. We're not living in the 90's, we're living in the naughty's!

And while watching "Taxi Driver In An Ambulance" with music-video fast-cam sequences is far from an uninteresting experience, it's not the balls out, rough as guts, big time that we'd all been hoping for. That'll teach us to lump expectation in with our seven bucks.

So Coppola is a pill popping ambulance driver haunted by the ghost of a patient gone wrong. Jon Goodman is his 'had enough' partner. Tom Sizemore is a fellow driver with psychopathic tendencies. Scorsese is his shift boss who barks like a dog and refuses to fire him. And Patty Arquette is the drug-fucked love interest.

If you believe the rumours, Arquette and Copolla got married many years back and within months were separated. They'd show up at big events together, then piss off to different houses afterwards. Why they continued this ruse for years is beyond me, but anyone expecting to see Copolla and Arquette showing some kind of real romantic chemistry based on their marriage is pissing up an incorrect tree. This is the stuff of Jodie Foster and Matthew McConnaughey. Rock Hudson and anyone with boobs. Marilyn Monroe and Jim Nabors. Ain't nobody going home and getting wood over these two.

BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT... this is one of those films where there's a reason to watch, and that reason has to be the writer/director team. No, it's ain't a masterpiece. But it's Schrader personified and it's Scorsese personified. It's like a funky science experiment. Imagine you have a big bottle of Monosodium Scorsese concentrate, mixed in with a jug of Kryptosporidium Schrader concentrate. You mix them together over the bunsen burner and you anticipate this big explosion that'll blow you away and make you go "FWOAH!", but all you get is some far-out colours, a lot of fizzing, a little popping, then it all stops and settles to a nice brown tinge that leaves you disappointed.

In itself, with it's dark freaky tone, bizarro self destructive characters, ultra-nasty imagery and Nic Cage playing crackwhore instead of action hero, Bringing Out The Dead is worth a peek. In an earlier time, this might have been groundbreaking stuff, but putting a fifty year old in cargo pants doesn't make him twenty.

Trust a guy who knows. Werd.

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originally posted: 04/16/00 17:29:49
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell bringing out the boredom too it blows 1 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 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
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  22-Oct-1999 (R)


  20-Apr-2000 (R)

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