3.5 Stars
Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
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Broken Vessels is a stylish expose of the paramedic sub-culture in Los Angeles. There are many companies that are more than willing to exploit ambitious paramedics hoping to get a job with the prestigious (and substantially more profitable) LAPD. In the meantime, they perform a high-risk, life-threatening job for minimum wage. The film focuses on two young paramedics. Jimmy (Todd Field) is an experienced medic who lives for the high energy kicks that often come with the job. When they don’t, he invents his own with the help of drugs — imagine Keitel’s Bad Lieutenant as an ambulance driver. Tom (Jason London) becomes his protege and is soon sucked into Jimmy’s warped worldview. Soon, Jimmy’s drug habit affects not only their lives but their jobs as well. Scott Ziehl’s film is a dazzling audio-visual spectacle for the senses. During the duo’s various drug trips, Ziehl distorts images while trippy music by The Chemical Brothers blasts away on the soundtrack. This combination coupled with the fascinating, and often frightening actual day-to-day paramedic job, creates a very intense effect that gives the rather predictable drug addict stuff more of a punch.

Posted on September 28, 1998 in Reviews by

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