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Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

Any call can be murder, any stop can be suicide, any night can be the last. And you thought your job was hell?

Original Title : Bringing Out the Dead
Director : Martin Scorsese
Writer : Joe Connelly
Paul Schrader
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Barbara De Fina , Jeff Levine , Bruce S. Pustin , Joseph P. Reidy , Mark Roybal , Scott Rudin , Adam Schroeder , Eric Steel
Music : Elmer Bernstein
Photography : Robert Richardson
MPAA Rating : Rated R for gritty violent content, drug use and language.
IMDB ID : 0163988
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poster for "Bringing Out the Dead" by Martin Scorsese (1999)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Martin Scorsese
 

Starring

Nicolas Cage Frank Pierce
Patricia Arquette Mary Burke
John Goodman Larry Verber
Ving Rhames Marcus
Tom Sizemore Tom Wall
Marc Anthony Noel
Mary Beth Hurt Nurse Constance
Cliff Curtis Cy Coates
Nestor Serrano Dr. Hazmat
Aida Turturro Nurse Crupp
Sonja Sohn Kanita
Cynthia Roman Rose
Afemo Omilami Griss
Cullen O. Johnson Mr. Burke (as Cullen Oliver Johnson
Arthur J. Nascarella Captain Barney
Martin Scorsese Dispatcher (voice
Julyana Soelistyo Sister Fetus
Graciela Lecube Neighbor Woman
Marylouise Burke Neighbor Woman
Phyllis Somerville Mrs. Burke
Mary Diveny Neighbor Woman
Tom Riis Farrell John Burke
Aleks Shaklin Arguing Russian
Leonid Citer Arguing Russian
Jesus A. Del Rosario Jr. Man with Bloody Foot
Larry Fessenden Cokehead
Bernie Friedman Big Feet
Theo Kogan Prostitute
Fuschia Walker Prostitute
John Heffernan Mr. Oh
Matthew Maher Mr. Oh's Friend
Bronson Dudley Mr. Oh's Friend
Marilyn McDonald Mr. Oh's Friend
Ed Jupp Jr. Homeless Man in Waiting Room
J. Stanford Hoffman Homeless Man in Waiting Room
Rita Norona Schrager Concerned Hispanic Aunt
Don Berry Naked Man
Mtume Gant Street Punk
Michael A. Noto Grunt
Omar Scroggins Bystander (as Omar Sharif Scroggins
muMs da Schemer Voice in Crowd (as muMs
Michael K. Williams Drug Dealer (as Michael Kenneth Williams
Andrew Davoli Stanley
Charlene Hunter Miss Williams
Jesse Malin Club Doorman
Harper Simon I.B. Bangin' aka Frederick Smith
Jon Abrahams Club Bystander
Charis Michaelson I.B.'s Girlfriend
Lia Yang Dr. Milagros
Antone Pagan Arrested Man
Melissa Marsala Bridge &
Betty Miller Weeping Woman
Rosemary Gomez Pregnant Maria
Luis Rodriguez Carlos
Sylva Kelegian Crackhead
Frank Ciornei Dr. Mishra
Catrina Ganey Nurse Odette
Jennifer Lane Newman Nurse Advisor
John Bal Policeman in Hospital
Raymond Cassar Policeman in Hospital
Tom Cappadona Drunk
Jack O'Connell Drunk
Randy Foster Drunk
Richard Spore Homeless Suicidal
James Hanlon Fireman
Chris Edwards Fireman
Mark Giordano Police Sergeant
Michael Mulheren Cop in Elevator
David Zayas Cop in Elevator
Terry Serpico Cop
Brian Smyj Cop
Floyd Resnick Cop
Megan Leigh Surgeon
David Vasquez Screaming Man
Judy Reyes ICU Nurse
Joseph P. Reidy ICU Nurse (as Joseph Reidy
Queen Latifah Dispatcher Love (voice
Carolyn Campbell Policewoman (uncredited
Joe Connelly Catatonic Patient in brown suede coat (uncredited
Bart DeFinna Restaurant Cashier (uncredited
Joseph Monroe Webb Drummer (uncredited
 

Plot

An Easter story. Frank is a Manhattan medic, working graveyard in a two-man ambulance team. He's burned out, exhausted, seeing ghosts, especially a young woman he failed to save six months' before, and no longer able to save people: he brings in the dead. We follow him for three nights, each with a different partner: Larry, who thinks about dinner, Marcus, who looks to Jesus, and Tom, who wallops people when work is slow. Frank befriends the daughter of a heart victim he brings in, she's Mary, an ex-junkie, angry at her father but now hoping he'll live. Frank tries to get fired, tries to quit, and keeps coming back, to work and to Mary, in need of his own rebirth.
 

Comments

IS a masterpiece (SPOILERS) Martin Scorsese is arguably the best living American filmmaker, and perhaps the best living filmmaker period (who is still making films, i.e., not counting Ingmar Bergman). He has made three bona fide masterpieces, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. Mean Streets is also often included in this list. Let's just say that if you were to argue against any of those films, you'd better have a brilliant argument prepared. Has he ever made a film that was universally regarded as bad? Possibly. Boxcar Bertha, which is not even available on video (although it has been), is usually considered to lack in quality. Scorsese himself called it his exploitation flick. Often The Color of Money is given low status, but not always. The rest of his films are hotly debated, usually. Bringing Out the Dead is one of these films. A majority may like it, but, among those who like it, not many of them like it a lot. Well, I would like to stand up as one of the very few who think that this film is one of Scorsese's masterpieces. In fact, I've always been flabberghasted that so many people find it so average or, even worse, bad. In my opinion, it is his 4th best film, after the three "bona fide" masterpieces listed above. I could never figure out what people are missing (or what extra material I am seeing). Perhaps it is this: the other three bona fide masterpieces together with all of his films basically remain within the confines of the classical style of filmmaking. That is, the plots, editing, cinematography and other technical aspects of his other films do not stray far from the techniques established by D.W. Griffith. That is not to say that Scorsese doesn't stray. He goes against the rules more than most American filmmakers. But in this country, we just don't allow for much experimentation. Bringing Out the Dead does experiment quite a bit more than Scorsese's other films. Its editing and cinematography seem crazy to many viewers. To tell the truth, this style of wacky cutting and odd angles is not too uncommon in American film. Most people are familiar with it from MTV. What does strike American viewers as odd is the plot. WHAT PLOT? some people will gasp. A lot of critics claimed that Bringing Out the Dead was a plotless mess. This upsets me, since professional critics should know this basic rule: the plot of a film is not a very important element. The plot is somewhat simplified here: a paramedic is going through a difficult slump in his work. Parallel to this is the man who has had a heart attack while his family sits and waits. These two stories intertwine. The film's structure is actually brilliant: the man who had a heart attack is forced to cling to life for three days while his savior is plummeting into depression and existential angst. This angst can only end when the man, whose condition is incredibly unstable, dies. The logic is metaphysical, which is something Americans tend not to understand. This film is not about realism. Everything is exaggerated. It is really a sensory overload for some. And then we get to the characters. NOT WELL DEVELOPED! people will yell. It's absolutely not true. What may be said is that there really are only two characters, played by Nick Cage and Patricia Arquette. There are other interesting, but somewhat less developed, characters, such as Noel and the three co-paramedics. The main focus is Cage and Arquette, though. They are marvellously written. I think that the mistake is often made that Cage's character is one dimensional. This is because Cage is so wrapped up in his job, really he and the job become a single entity. This happens to anyone who has a job. It only happens that Cage's work is much more demanding, and it is thus taking over his soul. Arquette receives more background information. She comes off as a very human protagonist. None of the events in her life are so much different from any normal person's life. These two characters connect through their own desperations. All in all, the film is tremendously effective. Maybe Roger Ebert was right about this film's reception: it failed because people are far too cynical in this day and age, where Scorsese is more of an idealist.
 
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Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Martin Scorsese
poster for "Bringing Out the Dead"
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Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Martin Scorsese
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Bringing Out the Dead (1999) - Martin Scorsese
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