Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bringing Out the Dead

The 1990s featured some very underappreciated works from martin Scorsese. (The main film of the 1990s Scorsese titles was Goodfellas.) Casino is one of the reputed great gangster films. The Age of Innocence is a gorgeous period piece.

But what about his 199 film Bringing Out the Dead? Well, it's another prime example. Depicting New York City's seedy underbelly, the film chronicles the slow but maddening descent of one man ensnared in the insanity of society. (And I'm putting it gently.)

The film stars Nicolas Cage and for some reason, I kept thinking about his work in Leaving Las Vegas. It makes sense if you've seen both films. His roles in Bringing Out the Dead and Leaving Las Vegas has him on a self-destructive path within the span of several days, each day resulting in him getting weaker mentally. It's a hell of a performance out of Cage too.

It's also no surprise that there are parallels between this and Taxi Driver. (Then again, it helps that both films are directed by Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader.) The protagonists in both films drift through New York City and see it as hell on earth. As Travis says in Taxi Driver, "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets."

Bringing Out the Dead is probably the rawest of Scorsese's films, perhaps too raw to some. He's not afraid to tread into risky territory. (He did make Taxi Driver after all.) The main thing that matters to him is to tell a tale of the immoral nature within humanity and how it can sometimes destroy us.

My Rating: ****1/2

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