Bringing Out the Dead

Psychopathic rendition of the few days in the life of an ambulance paramedic in New York, told with a few cinematic devices that drift between solemn and grim to disco-flashy and violent. ER this isn't – the focus of conflict is on the overworked, haunted (in Cage's case, literally) and personally extreme characteristics of the people who scream around the city trying to save people and often failing.

Cage's arc shows a man on more edges than one as he tries to negotiate something like normal life, as in his connection with Arquette. Otherwise it isn't a big stretch for him as an actor, playing a maudlin, lethargic depressive. The grimness is interspersed with moments of unexpected comedy, like his boss' insistence that he'll fire him the following week for the number of sick days (the joke being that the department is so desperate for staff they can't even get themselves fired).

Characterisations are brilliant, with Sizemore as creepy and over the edge as some of the crims they have to deal with and Rhames a treat as the evangelical paramedic making the kids pray over the body of their OD'd friend to bring him back. Too many unrelated subplots, so not a great movie, but worth watching for many reasons.

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