You think your job's tough?
Scorsese usually isn't out to make us think we're part of any rosy little world, but he's outdone himself this time.
Nicolas Cage is an EMT riding around in an ambulance on the edge of his own sanity. Whether it's the pressures of the job or not, the man is suffering and, other than the paradoxes of the profession, he is unable to let go of one particular death, of a patient he'd been working on.
The film is very stylistic, with lots of diffusing filters and blowout lighting, often resulting in a halo effect. Obviously we are supposed to be reminded of ghosts here. Along with the frequent hyperkinetic spats of jump cutting, we get an otherworldly feeling about the experiences passing before our eyes.
Various people pass through Cage's life - other EMTs he is paired with, his boss who refuses to fire him, apparently no matter how many times he comes in late, patients who get branded as regulars, and the daughter of one heart attack victim who walks the line between life and death.
I'm a bit of a loss for finding more details to describe the film. I think the thing is, what we are seeing is very much a mood piece. A well-constructed and imaginative mood piece, but the whole idea is of putting the audience somewhere they are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
For those who are looking for light entertainment, put the video down and back away from the drama section. BOtD is not going to make many people happy, but it may just give them an appreciation for their own lives, which is probably a rarity these days (although if you are an EMT, you might get something else from this - I can't speak from personal experience there).
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