At breakneck speed: Nicolas Cage experienced a traumatic preparation for this film – CinéSéries

Nicolas Cage plays a New York paramedic on the edge of the abyss in Martin Scorsese’s “Open Grave”. A feature film for which the actor prepared by following members of the hospital staff, thus becoming a witness to extremely difficult situations to live with.

At open tomb : the little brother of Taxi Driver

New York paramedic in the early 90s, Frank Pierce (Nicholas Cage) is a craving drug addict. It has been months since he was able to save one of his patients when his motto is: “Help your neighbour, you will help yourself”. At the edge of the abyss and only looking to get fired so he can finally sleep, he is haunted by the ghosts of the people he saw die and more particularly by that of Rose (Cynthia Roman), a young woman he failed to keep alive.

At open tomb brings the viewer to life three decisive nights for this hero in search of peacewho finds it increasingly difficult to keep calm with his colleagues Larry (John Goodman), Marcus (Ving Rhames) and Tom (Tom Sizemore), each holding up in their own way. His encounters with Mary Burke (Patricia Arquette), daughter of a cardiac arrest patient, Noel (Mark Anthony), a man gone mad and now addicted to water, or with the drug dealer Cy (Cliff Curtis) will turn his life upside down and perhaps allow him to find peace.

Open grave ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Released in 2000 and adapted from the autobiographical novel raise the dead by Joe Connelly, the feature film marks the reunion between the director Martin Scorsese and Paul Schraderhere screenwriter, after Taxi Driver, raging bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. The film has moreover many similarities to the one centered on Travis Bickle, starting with religious references. Depressive in the same way as the driver embodied by Robert DeNiroFrank Pierce, for example, sees signs of crucifixion in the city and hopes during these three nights to witness a resurrection.

A grueling preparation for Nicolas Cage

But unlike Travis Bickle, the protagonist ofAt open tomb remains resolutely positive and rather than bring down his fellow human beings, he prefers to come to their aid. Exhausted, surrounded and blinded by the artificial lights that flood the streets of New York (magnificent work by the cinematographer Robert Richardson), Frank hangs on and never completely loses hope. Constantly on the razor’s edge and offering himself only rare moments to cry out his distress, Nicolas Cage delivers outstanding performance in this role.

At open tomb
Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage) – Open Grave ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

To slip into the skin of his character, the actor follows paramedics as well as members of the hospital service. Deeply striking experiences for the actor, who recounts duringan interview in 1999 :

Once I was in an ambulance and was told to put on a bulletproof vest. I’m not a paramedic, I’m an actor. So I was terrified.

“What do you think of that, Nic?”

Nicolas Cage also explains that the only person who recognized him during his training was an emergency doctor. And even if he had liked it in Rockthe latter did not fail to let the actor know that he was not “the star” in this environment:

They were doing a sternotomy and there was blood everywhere. And there were two dead bodies on a table and I was trying to stay calm about it all. He kept looking at me, like, ‘What do you think about that, Nic?’

During an interview with journalist Jimmy Carter, the actor assures that he found this immersion “terrifying and depressing”. Added to this is the “intense” filming which lasts about five months and takes place mostly at night. The result is an inhabited interpretation in a feature film which is certainly not the most cited of Martin Scorsese’s career, but which stands out as a success at all levels.

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At breakneck speed: Nicolas Cage experienced a traumatic preparation for this film – CinéSéries