Bringing Out the Dead

Bringing Out the Dead ★★★★★


Bringing out the Dead is one of Marty’s most disturbing movies. Unlike Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, the two other Scorsese/Schrader joints featuring damaged leads, you actually care about Cage’s Frank Pierce here. He doesn’t enact the horrific, monstrous acts of violence on people close to him that Bickel or LaMotta inflict; Frank is trying to stop violence as much as he can. Yet Frank can’t outrun death. It seems to be following him everywhere despite his most desperate attempts to save so many people. Marty and Schrader have never made the deaths of any one person so tragic and felt. Death so permeates the nights of New York here that it often feels inevitable, like Frank is trapped in purgatory and is just ushering these souls past him into the afterlife; one last face to see before they pass. And if they don’t die, they will only ever be stuck with Frank in this purgatory— there is no escape. A horrifying, disturbed fever dream of one man who desperately wants to be a savior and escape his own self imposed torment. It’s as Rose says to him: “No one asked you to suffer.”