New York, the early '90s. Frank Pierce (Cage) drives an ambulance for the Emergency Medical Services. He's wired, confused, lonely - and haunted by the lives he's failed to save. Not that Hell's Kitchen, his territory, or his paramedic partners (Goodman, Rhames and Sizemore) over three wild nights help much. The sole source of peace for Frank would seem to be Mary (Arquette), daughter of a heart attack victim - but even she's an ex-junkie afraid that the underfunded hospital won't save her dad. Scorsese's film of Joe Connelly's novel has been likened to Taxi Driver. A more apposite comparison, however, might be the closing, coke fuelled coda of GoodFellas, since this sees Scorsese pulling out all the stylistic stops to play Frank's story in the fortissimo register. It's a pity the tone veers awkwardly between philosophical speculation, black comedy, Kazan-like drama and souped-up Expressionism. Also the performances of Cage and Sizemore are too manic, and a sense of déjà vu often creeps in. Of course, it's immaculately crafted and exhilaratingly paced, but in the end it's never as emotionally involving as it could and should be.
Cast and crew
Mary Beth Hurt