Movie Review: Puncture
Rating: R (for drug use, language, some nudity, and a sexual reference)
Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: Sept. 23, 2011
Directed by: Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen
Stars: 3 out of 5
The independent feature film "Puncture" revolves around a lawyer's battle against a large corporation in the health supply industry. The movie was inspired by the true story of pun. In the film, Chris Evans portrays Mike Weiss, a Houston lawyer who is addicted to drugs. Then there is Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen, a co-director of the movie), Weiss' lifelong friend and law partner. The two attorneys agree to handle the case of Vicky (Vinessa Shaw), a nurse in a local ER who has decided to sue some needle manufacturers after being pierced by a contaminated needle.
As the suit gets lengthy and complicated, the two lawyers begin to realize that there is a huge conspiracy involving the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. The corporation being sued soon hires its own heavyweight lawyers who do everything in their power to try to push Vicky's attorneys to their breaking point.
The underlying story in the film is that of an inventor who was unable to sell his syringe. The inventor then hired two young lawyers to sue the two biggest hospital group purchasing organizations in the United States for shutting his product out of the market unfairly. The movie raises several alarming issues. For example, it is revealed that accidental needle pricks are responsible for thousands of infections among nurses in the United States annually.
The film begins with a brief prologue showing Vicky pricking herself with a needle. This prick is the trigger for all the later happenings in the movie. Evans manages to portray Weiss as a scrappy but sharp lawyer who can be very persuasive when need arises. His addiction for coke and prostitutes does not seem to have dampened his attorney wits. Among his strange habits is practicing his court arguments while shirtless and high on coke.
One of the most important themes in this movie is corruption, especially involving corporate entities that can afford to throw their muscle around and remain in business. In the film, it seems as if big businesses are always bent on increasing their profits irrespective of whom they trod on along the way.
The idealism represented by the duo is rare. While some people might call it unbelievable, that is not true because even the film itself is based on a true story. The writers and producers of this David vs. Goliath story succeeded in making their movie believable by painting their characters in realistic colors. The characters are engaged in an idealistic battle, but they also have their faults. Weiss' personal problems are expertly weaved into the main story, which is about the suit against the health product's supplier.
The performances of the cast members are commendable. Evans comes across as both destructive and driven, two combinations that give him a certain roguish appeal that many movie fans love to see in their stars. Evans is mainly known for playing superhero roles. Some of the superhero movies he has acted in include "Captain America," "Marvel's The Avengers," and "Fantastic Four." While some people might argue that his sculptured superhero body is not perfectly suited to his underdog lawyer status in "Puncture," it should not be forgotten that stereotyping rarely proves true. Besides, his body language, eyes, words, and mannerism all give credence to his low status as David in an epic David vs. Goliath court case.
It seems as if the producer's preoccupation with the personal life of Weiss was done at the expense of the real story. However, this is not such a bad thing because focusing solely on the court case would not have made a thrilling movie, and "Puncture" is certainly thrilling. Going down that route would have produced a dry storyline, something that would fit an educational audience rather than mass moviegoers. The unusual life of the main protagonist makes it much more interesting.
With all his delusions of grandeur, which are largely fueled by his coke addiction, the dysfunctional hero might never have taken the giant conglomerates head on. Is this an upside to drug addiction? That is something best left for fans to debate. What is clear, however, is the fact that "Puncture" succeeds mainly because it shows the marginal lives of most of its characters.
The duo's case against the pharmaceutical firms is a giant task because the companies have a huge influence on the system that is supposed to arbitrate the case. At the same time, the case should be moving faster than it is because Weiss' health is deteriorating fast. The question is: between his health and his case, which one will collapse first?