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Puncture


What would you say if I told you there was an invention in 1998 that, if mass-produced, would have saved roughly a million lives in the U.S. alone? And what would you say if the only thing preventing that mass-production was the cost of producing this invention versus the standard, and much more dangerous, version? Michael Weiss (Chris Evans) and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) found themselves in the middle of this fight for a safety needle in Puncture.

Grade:

After Vicky (Vinessa Shaw) is accidentally punctured by a needle while working on a patient, she contacts Weiss and Danziger, personal injury lawyers – if you aren’t familiar with the type then watch television from 10am-3pm and you’ll see commercials or drive through a bad neighborhood and read the benches – to help her raise awareness about the prevalence of needlesticks among hospital employees. Weiss and Danziger begin to uncover the massive cover-up of these cases by the enormous medical supply companies who own a monopoly on the market. Oh, did I mention that while Weiss is an excellent and dedicated lawyer, he is a hard drug user involved with needles as well?

Akin to the David and Goliath story of Erin Brockovich, Weiss and Danziger are just simple lawyers with very limited funds taking on a giant corporation with the best lawyers available. The first two-thirds of the film show the struggles they face in making their case heard with a good mixture of personal effort and corporate dismissal. Evans and Kassen are good, not great, which means the story is where the real intrigue lies and to say the case is compelling is an understatement. The idea of a syringe that would retract immediately and be incapable of further use is a monumental invention for the safety of hospital workers as well as the public. As Weiss finds out, this invention could have stemmed the AIDS epidemic in Africa and saved millions from further infection. It is the kind of discovery that should be deterred by capitalist enterprise or one man’s story.

Puncture starts out smoothly and could have continued on a great pace towards the culmination of the case, but after an hour it takes a swift turn into Weiss’ drug/health issues. While this may have ultimately been important – if you know the ending – it did not fit fairly well with the way the film had set everything up. The movie goes from intense legal drama to drug abuse in a matter of minutes and never really recovers with the same fervor. This may be in reference to Weiss’ deteriorating health, but his passion to take on the case never wavered, which made the artistic switch a questionable one.

The film ends at an inopportune time with regards to the case and is finished with a mea culpa of sorts by explaining the results with a few lines of text. Puncture had all the ingredients to be a solid drama with an excellent story, but the writers simply took a wrong turn at the fork in the road. If they had given equal time – or greater – to the case, then Puncture would have kept the intrigue from start to finish. The result is a feeling of incompletion and a longing for more information.

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    • Steph
    • April 17th, 2012

    I would say, “Well, don’t just stand there! Start up the fuckin time machine, we’ve gotta go back to 1998″! And you would probably respond with no more than a stare back, ghostface killa style.

    I love how you offered the writers some pity justification for the progressive crappiness of the movie: the shittiness of the film *could* actually be an artistic reference to the protagonist’s deteriorating health…symbolic!” And they’d be all, “uh huh…yeah, yeah, of course, we intentionallyyyyy got lazy/sloppy with the production; it’s supposed to get increasingly awful!” but really they just ran out of money and stopped caring haha

    Great description of where to see some personal injury lawyers! lolzzzz someone sitting at home watching judge judy: “i think I’m coming down with a nasty case of mesothelioma, better call that # to join the class action suit”!

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