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  Bringing Out The Dead Ambulance, no chaser
Year: 1999
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, Marc Anthony
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 4 votes)
Review: Despite indications to the contrary in the final, chilling scene of Taxi Driver, it seems Travis Bickle failed to wash the scum off the streets of New York. The return of Scorsese and Schrader to the city that never sleeps is set in a pre-Giuliani, pre-zero tolerance Big Apple, and the early extreme close-up of Nicolas Cage's tired eyes immediately appears to suggest that we are in the presence of Bickle's progeny.

Bringing Out The Dead does indeed share Taxi Driver's vision of New York-as-Hades, although shattered ambulance worker Frank Pierce (Cage) just wants to get some sleep. Like Travis, he's in torment – but for Frank, it's a guilt feeling over the death of a young female patient whose spectre looms large everywhere he looks. Pierce seems to be working the longest, most demanding shift ever experienced by a health service employee, matters not being improved by the company of his deranged partners – ebullient John Goodman, egocentric Ving Rhames, and wired Tom Sizemore, all of whom turn the tiny ambulance cab into something more like a rubber room.

Frank Sinatra brings an old man back from the dead, the patrons of a goth club form a circle of hands to pray for a junkie acquaintance, a sidewalk face smashes car windshields with a baseball bat, a laid-back dealer is impaled on railings 14 storeys up, Johnny Thunders/The Who/The Clash crash away on the soundtrack, the radio operators (Scorsese and Queen Latifah) just keep on calling, and none of it ever, ever, ever goes away, no matter how much coffee you drink.

Amazingly for a Scorsese picture, it has a gloriously happy and redemptive ending – but one suspects that Frank, like Travis before him, will be back out on the blood, shit, spunk and vomit-covered streets once again tomorrow.
Reviewer: Darrell Buxton

 

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Martin Scorsese  (1941 - )

American writer and director who emerged as one of the brightest and most vital of the generation of filmmakers who came to prominence during the 1970s with his heartfelt, vivid and at times lurid works. After deciding against joining the priesthood, he turned to his other passion - movies - and started with short efforts at film school until Roger Corman hired him to direct Boxcar Bertha.

However, it was New York drama Mean Streets that really made Scorsese's name as a talent to watch, and his succeeding films, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (which won Ellen Burstyn an Oscar and is the only Scorsese movie to be made into a sitcom) and the cult classic Taxi Driver (starring Robert De Niro, forever associated with the director's work) only confirmed this.

Unfortunately, his tribute to the musical New York, New York was a flop, and he retreated into releasing concert movie The Last Waltz before bouncing back with boxing biopic Raging Bull, which many consider his greatest achievement. The rest of the eighties were not as stellar for him, but The King of Comedy and After Hours were cult hits, The Color of Money a well-received sequel to The Hustler and The Last Temptation of Christ kept his name in the headlines.

In the nineties, Scorsese began with the searing gangster saga Goodfellas, and continued with the over-the-top remake of Cape Fear before a change of pace with quietly emotional period piece The Age of Innocence. Casino saw a return to gangsters, and Kundun was a visually ravishing story of the Dalai Lama. Bringing Out the Dead returned to New York for a medical tale of redemption, and Gangs of New York was a muddled historical epic.

Still the Best Director Oscar eluded him, but the 2000s gave what many saw as his best chance at winning. Slick Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator didn't make it, but remake of Infernal Affairs The Departed finally won him the prize. Outlandish thriller Shutter Island then provided him with the biggest hit of his career after which he surprised everyone by making family film Hugo - another huge hit.

This was followed by an even bigger success with extreme broker takedown The Wolf of Wall Street, and a return to his religious origins with the austere, redemption through torture drama Silence. Despite being an advocate of the theatrical experience, he joined forces with Netflix for The Irishman, reuniting him with De Niro for one last gangster epic. He also directed Michael Jackson's Bad music video.

 
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