Dark vocation

Bringing Out the Dead (1999), directed by Martin Scorsese

In the opening scenes of Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead, the image of an oncoming ambulance is followed instantly by a close-up of driver Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage), a burned-out veteran of the city's ambulance service. The action, seen through Frank's eyes, takes place over several nights on filthy New York streets populated by drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes, the destitute, the homeless and the hopeless. Beyond the sidewalks lie tenements, abandoned buildings, crack houses—and Our Lady of Misery, an aging, understaffed hospital overwhelmed by the suffering that floods in from the dark streets.

Theological questions lie at the heart of Scorsese's work. How shall we make sense of vocations that call us to the brink of life and death? What does it mean to save? How shall we be forgiven?


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