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BRINGING OUT THE DEAD

BRINGING OUT THE DEAD ($30) is vaguely reminiscent of director Martin Scorseseís grittier early works, but he employs a pumped up visual style that gives film a fresh, edgy quality that differentiates it from his preceding movies. Nicolas Cage stars in BRINGING OUT THE DEAD as Frank Pierce, a burnt out paramedic, who is close to succumbing to the pressures of his job. After several months of being unable to save people on the job, Frank is very close to going over the edge. In fact, everywhere he looks; Frank sees the face of one particular girl whose death torments him the most. Just as Frank is closest to falling into the abyss, he meets someone and the experience begins to pull him back.

While answering an emergency call, Frank meets Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette), the daughter of a heart attack victim, whose own screwed up life makes her something of a kindred spirit. As Frank tries to help Mary and her father, he is able to latch onto something inside himself that helps him to fight his personal demons. BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is a character driven film, which tells a very simple story that follows Frank on his New York City shift over the course of several nights. However, what makes BRINGING OUT THE DEAD truly special is Martin Scorseseís energized brand of storytelling and the solid performances by Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, Marc Anthony and Mary Beth Hurt. BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is a movie that I liked quite a bit; but then again, Iím a huge fan of AFTER HOURS, so this movie may not appeal to every card carrying Scorsese fan.

With BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, Paramount Home Entertainment delivers another marvelous looking and sounding DVD. Scorseseís movies have become more visually interesting since he began using scope and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is no exception. Scorsese has utilized various film and digital techniques to juice up the imagery and Paramountís amazing transfer handles every cinematic trick with aplomb. BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is properly framed at 2.35:1 and the presentation features the enhancement for playback on 16:9 displays. The image is clean, crisp and reproduces a solid level of detail. Colors tend to be somewhat subdued, but most of the film takes place at night or under florescent lighting, which does little for color cinematography. More intense hues are definitely part of the filmís pallet, but their presence is far from continuous. There are absolutely no problems with chroma noise or bleeding colors within the image. Since so much of the film takes place at night, any thing less than perfect black reproduction would have been a major failing. Fortunately, there is nothing to complain about here. Shadow detail is also quite good and the filmís contrast is rendered as the filmmakers intended. Digital compression artifacts are rendered unnoticeable thanks to the higher data rate afforded by the use of dual layers.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is a solid performer, but the mix isnít what one would call demonstration material. There is strong channel separation in the forward soundstage, which is utilized for both sound effects and music. However, there is limited use of the surround channels beyond ambient sounds. Dialogue is very well recorded and reproduced; even when the characters speak softly, there is full intelligibility. The bass channel delivers a solid bottom end that prevents any sort of shallowness in the sound. An English Dolby Surround soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English subtitles. The interactive menus are basic, but they provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. There are about ten minutes worth of interviews with members of the cast and crew, which are interesting and informative, but donít go on nearly long enough to cover all aspects of the production. Two theatrical trailers fill out the extras.

As I said above, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD may not appeal to every Scorsese fan, but I liked the movie a whole heck of a lot. Paramount Home Entertainmentís excellent DVD presentation makes this movie worth a look, if not more.

 
BRINGING OUT THE DEAD 


Bringing Out the Dead (1999)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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