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.


“Code Black” is a look at the battle to save lives when resources are stretched thin and doctors are forced to do their best at the earliest point in their careers. It’s like “MASH”, but it takes place in American instead of Asian warzone. Doesn’t it frighten anyone else how this country is in a race to the bottom? Why does that feel ever so apparent when discussing our medical system?

Watching a day in the life of the LA County Hospital trauma bay is intense. Knowing that real lives are on the line and so many are going to die, it just sucks any appreciation out of the room. I love what Ryan McGarry was able to capture, but I just can’t stop feeling depressed about everything we’re seeing. It’s not his fault, but geez…this isn’t repeat viewing.

The DVD comes with an interview, short film and trailer as the special features. The A/V Quality is impressive for a documentary. The Dolby 5.1 track gets a wide stage to develop. However, the transfer felt flat to me. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to the interested.

RELEASE DATE: 02/24/2015


TWEET @avcentral a picture of Sarah Chalke from Scrubs.

RETWEET that TWEET to Sarah Chalke. I’ll admire your commitment to winning a movie.

BONUS: Draw a Street Fighter II style picture of J.D. fighting Turk in the Hospital Gift Shop.

I’ll select winners after that point.

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