After the powerful trifecta of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ, Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader re-teamed in 1999 for Bringing Out The Dead, a film which many dubbed ‘Ambulance Driver‘ on its release. It’s bleak and depressing but the film gives us yet another great performance by Nicolas Cage as a burnt-out, drug-fueled paramedic.
Now it’s time that Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader’s film finally came out from the shadow of the pair’s iconic Taxi Driver. Bringing Out The Dead has always been seen as the lesser piece of cinema, but the 1999 film is its own beast. They share echoes of loneliness as the prognostic drives the neon-drenched mean streets of New York City along with scores Elmer Bernstein but they cannot and should not be lumped together.
Based on Joe Connolly’s novel, Bringing Out The Dead is more about hope than the darkness of the 1976 film. They might be about despair, but Cage’s Frank Pierce has more inherent goodness than Robert DeNiro’s Travis Bickle.
With a budget of $55 million, Bringing Out The Dead grossed $16.7 million at the US box office in 1999 – Taxi Driver made $28 million in 1976.