"...Dark humor, amusing moments, visual pyrotechnics and bravura acting from the entire ensemble..."
Rolling Stone - 11/11/1999
"...[Cage] gives a blazing, implosive performance..."
Premiere - 06/01/2000
"...Tremendous visual imagination....Takes some surprising turns..." -- 4 out of 5 stars
USA Today - 10/22/1999
"...Nicholas Cage anchors the movie with one of his best performances....Kinetically stylized through Robert Richardson's fabulous photography..."
Los Angeles Times - 10/22/1999
"...Gritty, hallucinatory....Scorsese turns this project into an impressive exercise in visual style..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/22/1999
"...To look at BRINGING OUT THE DEAD -- to look, indeed, at almost any Scorsese film -- is to be reminded that film can touch urgently and deeply..."
Martin Scorsese exhilaratingly adapts Joe Connelly's novel about Frank (Nicolas Cage), a paramedic working among the filth and mental desolation of New York City's Hell's Kitchen in the early 1990s. Lately he has been haunted by the visions of a beautiful 18 year-old girl whom he was unable to resuscitate. Soon after, another image begins to torment him, that of Mary (Patricia Arquette), a recovering drug addict who enters Frank's life when he attempts to save her father. His spiral into even further confusion is paralleled with his three driving partners: Larry (a boisterous John Goodman), whose advice to Frank is not to think about all the death and violence; Marcus (a scene-stealing Ving Rhames), a religious fanatic who uses his medical skills as propaganda for the Lord; and Walls (a maniacal Tom Sizemore), a loose cannon who has no sensible grounding whatsoever. In order to escape the madness that is consuming him, Frank asks, unsuccessfully, to be fired. He must ride out the nightmare, trying to redeem the lives of Rose, Mary, and himself in the process. Scorsese uses his camera to capture Frank's wavering mental state with tilted angles and fast-speed photography. In portraying the tormented Frank, Cage dives wholeheartedly into character, delivering another fiery performance.
Martin Scorsese's surreal film is a rush of adrenaline, sparked by Robert Richardson's frenetic camera work. As Frank, the unraveling paramedic who works in Hell's Kitchen in the early 1990s, Nicolas Cage's eyes convey a seemingly endless range of emotions. The film plays like a hypercomic TAXI DRIVER, with a cast of characters that are ghostly, haunted, and on the verge of insanity. An assured supporting cast is highlighted by Ving Rhames, whose Marcus is a raucous religious fanatic.
New York City
Theatrical release: October 22, 1999.
Filmed on location in New York City.
Budgeted at $32 million, the film grossed $6.193 million in its opening weekend (on 1,936 screens).
At the 1997 Telluride Film Festival, Paul Schrader called BRINGING OUT THE DEAD his best script since TAXI DRIVER.
The grueling shoot took place mostly at night.
The title of the film is a reference to a scene in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.