Bringing Out the Dead

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:58 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Bringing Out the Dead
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Marc Anthony
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Paramount Pictures, Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: Don’t even think about bringing them unless they are an aspiring filmmaker.
Date Movie: She might get grossed out and hold your hand.
Gratuitous Sex: There might have been, but I don’t remember it.
Gratuitous Violence: Some graphic scenes.
Action: Mostly sped-up film scenes.
Laughs: Lots of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: While Frank treats an over-dose case, his partner Marcus convinces the dude’s friends that he can be brought back from the dead if they all pray while Frank treats him.
Memorable Quote: While impaled on an iron fence, the drug dude says “I’m trying to watch my weight and look what happens.
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

I can understand why all of the critics will be giving “Bringing Out the Dead” rave reviews because in terms of filmmaking things, i.e. cinematography, artsy looks, creative-like acting, and I suppose being different in looks than a blockbuster, “Bringing Out the Dead” scores high marks on all of those things if that’s what you’re looking for in a movie. Maybe because I’m not a film-school type person, or maybe because I’ve never studied film, or maybe because I just want a film to entertain me and can usually get around brilliant cinematography and even some not-so-great acting, but in the end “Bringing Out the Dead” didn’t entertain me that much. I’m not saying it wasn’t great film work, because it was, and I did chuckle a couple of times, but in the end I just walked out saying “I guess it was okay,” and “I hope if I need a paramedic that I don’t get any of those knuckleheads.”

“Bringing Out the Dead” tells the story of a stressed-out paramedic, Frank, played by Nicolas Cage, and takes us on a few nights of his psychotic behavior. He is tormented by the ghost of a girl whom he couldn’t save and gets teamed up with some even more psychotic paramedic buddies. In the meantime he begins to fall for Mary (Patricia Arquette), the daughter of a man who Frank brought, unwillingly supposedly by the voices the body tells Frank, back to life (although he’s still basically brain-dead). Through the nearly two hours we get Frank and his paramedic buddies responding to various calls, with the druggie Noel (Marc Anthony) being the main calls, treated to multiple visits of the hospital emergency room, and begin to wonder if paramedics are really like this (I hope mine aren’t).

It’s a twisted movie, especially Frank’s paramedic buddies. We get Larry (John Goodman) as one of them, we get Marcus (Ving Rhames) as another (probably bringing the most laughs as he works the dispatcher lady over the microphone and plays a preacher while Frank revives an overdose call), and Tom (Tom Sizemore) who seems to like his job mostly so that he can fuck with people. And there is poor Frank, trying desperately to hold it together but really hoping he would just get fired.

Like I said, as a movie-making film “Bringing Out the Dead” is up there with the best of them. The scenes flow, the acting is top-notch, and there are a lot of visuals to deal with. But, and maybe because of these things too, the movie had many of those artsy slow spots that drop the entertainment value down a notch or two. I don’t know, I know Martin Scorsese is a great filmmaker, but sometimes for the boring movie-goer like me, well, I don’t get into the artsy stuff. I loved the scenes with Frank’s buddy, Marcus, especially at the rave party where he convinces the overdose’s friends that if they all pray together that their buddy will come back from the dead, and the visits to the emergency room were generally entertaining, but too many times I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe there was so much time left in the movie.

Well, let’s wrap this up. “Bringing Out the Dead” is a filmmakers film. What I mean by that is that if you appreciate a well made film, well you will probably thoroughly enjoy it. But if you really don’t care about all of that stuff and just want to be entertained, well, “Bringing Out the Dead” probably won’t do it for you. With that I’ll split the rating to 2 ½ stars, but I’m going to add one for the scene where the drug dealer guy is impaled on a fence. So, it’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 from me for “Bringing Out the Dead.”

That’s it for this one, I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!