The Movie: Martin Scorsese returns from almost 2 years with no directing with the Nicolas Cage drama, Bringing Out the Dead, based on the book by Joe Connelly. Bringing Out the Dead follows EMS and ambulance driver Frank Pierce (Cage) over 48 hours as he goes from call to call constantly sleep-deprived and intoxicated. Although the story is incohesive at times, it does come together to form a tight-knit drama following Frank Pierce as he tries to get his life back together after meeting Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette) after bringing her dad back from the dead via CPR.
At times, Bringing Out the Dead is quite funny, using dark comedy to create an upbeat tone in this very dark movie. Fellow ambulance driver Marcus (Ving Rhames) provides much of the comedy and plays his role superbly. Marc Anthony as Noel, a psychotic drug-user also provides some comedy and is a constant storyline throughout. Patricia Arquette, following her recent lead role in Stigmata, has a small role, but provides a good contrast opposite Nicolas Cage.
The Picture: This picture seems a bit faded at times, but according to Amazon.com, it was because of the bleach bypass process (partial or total elimination of the bleach step in printing). It was done purposefully so it doesn't detract from the film, but rather, it enhances the overall style. There is some evidence of pixelation, but you have to be watching closely to see it. The Paramount logo at the beginning isn't the best quality, but that's just tacked on to the movie itself, so I didn't detract from the rating for this. You'd think they'd digitize it so that they could present it in a pristine condition on DVDs.
The Sound: The sound is primarily dialogue driven, so don't expect any great sound effects. Nonetheless, the film does a good job in sound presentation and does use the surround in the right spots. The soundtrack also stands out (which I own and is one of my personal favorites), and adds another dimension to the film. The eclectic mix of songs chosen for the soundtrack fit well with the movie and come together for the CD perfectly.
The Extras: The only real extra on this disc was the featurette featuring cast and crew interviews. This was actually quite well done with inteviews with Martin Scorsese, Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, Ving Rhames, and writer Joe Connelly. They talk about not only the movie itself, but the filming process, and how they interacted with the other actors. I wasn't expecting much from the interviews, but I actually enjoyed them. The only other extras included are 2 trailers and the usual interactive menus and scene selection.
Conclusion: While the $30 price tag might be a little high, if you enjoyed the movie, it's worth it. One of my personal favorites from 1999, the DVD is of exceptional quality and the cast and crew interviews are a nice addition. The only thing missing are some commentaries from Scorsese or Cage. That would have just made the disc perfect (maybe a collector's edition is coming soon - probably not though).
Review by Blake Kunisch of Movielocity.com.