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Bringing Out The Dead  

Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage)
Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette)
Larry (John Goodman)
Marcus (Ving Rhames)
Tom Walls (Tom Sizemore)

Directed by Martin Scorsese Written by Paul Schrader

Rated R for language, violence, drug use, nudity, and sexual situations Running Time: 118 minutes Distributed by Paramount and Touchstone Pictures
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Bringing Out the Dead is a well made film that has a mild script. The story follows the character of Frank Pierce (Cage), who is a New York City ambulance driver. Frank's life begins to crumble after too many nights of saving and losing lives. He can't sleep, he drinks frequently, and he begins seeing the spirits of his lost victims. Frank starts to believe that he has nothing left to live for until Mary (Arquette), the daughter of a man whose life was saved by Frank, gives him hope for life and redemption.

Bringing Out the Dead has nice acting and outstanding direction. However, I found the script to be a little to long, even though the story line was original and something different.

Nicolas Cage is terrific as the worn out and spiritually collapsed medic, Frank. Cage has great range from head to toe with this character. I like seeing Cage continuously taking risky roles in his career. John Goodman delivers an admirable performance as Larry, who is one of Frank's partners. In addition to, the whole cast was naturally effective. Small but pivotal roles from Ving Rhames and Tom Sizemore are memorable. Also Cage's wife, Patricia Arquette, rebounds with a nice performance after struggling in her last film Stigmata.

The direction is vivid and intelligent by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese, who is an acclaimed and very controversial filmmaker, brings visionary quick cuts and traditional lighting to the film. Scorsese previous credits include Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Casino. Scorsese is a director that knows how to project unique stories on to film, and does so masterfully with his work in Bringing Out the Dead.

Bringing Out the Dead was adapted from Joe Connelly's novel by Paul Schrader. Schrader previously worked with Scorsese on Taxi Driver. The storyline in Bringing Out the Dead is similar to Taxi Driver. In contrast, Taxi Driver is a scarier and darker film. Schrader's script just seemed to drag on to me. There were some aspects and scenes that are drawn out and lengthy in the film. An example is when Frank encounters a drug dealer that tries to get him to consume his product. I know that the scene ends up being important to the film, I just felt that the script could have been tighter.

I do recommend Bringing Out the Dead, it is strange and weird film that some audiences might not care for. However, I felt for the characters in the film and came in touch with each situation that Frank encountered.

Report Card Grade: B-

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