Code Black

This documentary about the hardworking emergency room staff at Los Angeles County hospital was written and directed by Ryan McGarry, a senior resident physician there; though he takes part in the action and sits for interviews, he never identifies himself onscreen or in voice-over as the filmmaker, which wouldn’t be quite so objectionable if the movie weren’t also an implicit attack on the Affordable Care Act. This opens with jaw-dropping scenes of the hospital’s fabled “C-Booth,” a chaotic cluster of doctors, nurses, and critically ill patients that looks more like a mosh pit than an ER; after the hospital moves to a new facility in 2012, the physicians are sidetracked by an endless bureaucratic gauntlet, filling out as many as 60 forms to get each patient admitted, treated, and released. Like most documentary makers addressing the health care crisis, McGarry can’t begin to get his arms around the whole problem; this works best as a highly subjective account of a small portion of it.