Code Black Image
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77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: In his vivid and thought-provoking filmmaking debut, physician Ryan McGarry gives us unprecedented access to America’s busiest Emergency Department. Amidst real life-and-death situations, McGarry follows a dedicated team of charismatic, young doctors-in-training as they wrestle openly with both their ideals and with the realities of saving lives in a complex and overburdened system. Their training ground and source of inspiration is “C-Booth,” Los Angeles County Hospital’s legendary trauma bay, the birthplace of Emergency Medicine, where “more people have died and more people have been saved than in any other square footage in the United States.” Code Black offers a tense, doctor’s-eye view, right into the heart of the healthcare debate – bringing us face to face with America’s only 24/7 safety net. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jun 19, 2014
    90
    Slicing through the fat of policy debates to the visceral rush of critical care, the narrative combines existential worries... and blood-and-guts immediacy with a seamlessness that made me want to high-five the editor, Joshua Altman.
  2. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jun 19, 2014
    90
    What sets Code Black apart is that the filmmaker is himself a physician. His extraordinary access to life-and-death moments and his illuminating perspective on the medical system make for a powerful viewing experience.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Jun 26, 2014
    90
    McGarry has created something that feels personal, vital and revelatory, allowing the rest of us behind the curtain.
  4. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Jun 17, 2014
    80
    What will pull viewers in is the empathy of the healthcare workers who battle to retain their idealism in the face of staggering obstacles.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Jul 31, 2014
    75
    Code Black shows the passion, frustration, and skill of those who work to heal despite the system, but it remains in the dark about why that system is broken and how it can be fixed.
  6. 75
    McGarry, with this slick, invigorating film, whose action is set to a pulsating James Lavino musical score, has broadened a national debate that anti-healthcare reform folks have narrowed via the courts and political demonization.
  7. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jun 17, 2014
    60
    Resident turned filmmaker Ryan McGarry sometimes displays shrewd instincts for hardheaded vérité — there’s compelling stuff here, even if you shear away his occasional stabs at issues of bureaucratic overcrowding and corporate cost-cutting at the expense of intimacy.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 7, 2014
    5
    I completely disagree with most of the critics that believe that this documentary is compelling or remotely deep in any sense. I felt that the director dedicated 90 minutes to create a "yearbook" of his residence and his friends. The film was the cinematographic equivalent to the physician's facebook newsfeed. There was little critical social commentary, and when there was, it sounded old, repetitive, empty. Too much idealization of the ER physician. I would like to see a follow up in 5 years and see how many of these altruist doctors are actually doing any altruistic work. Expand