Bringing Out the Dead ★★★½

Depressing and sometimes unpleasant to watch, the film—which is based on Joe Connelly’s book "Bringing Out the Dead"—has some hard-hitting moments and surreal scenes. It is skillfully directed by Martin Scorsese and features convincing acting by Nicolas Cage as the burned-out paramedic at the center of the story, Patricia Arquette, and the supporting cast (John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Tom Sizemore, Marc Anthony, and Cliff Curtis, among others). The film is technically accomplished, with stylish cinematography and an effective soundtrack. Favoring mood and characterization over story, "Bringing Out the Dead" does not leave the viewer unaffected.