A-list actor, Chris Evans, tackles a new and more challenging role in the new movie Puncture. Evans plays Mike Weiss, a tough and intelligent young lawyer
But before we’re introduced to Weiss, directors Adam and Mark Kassen set the tone of the movie by offering up a prologue. It’s 1998; a young nurse (Vinessa Shaw) accidentally pricks herself with a contaminated needle and contracts the AIDS virus. Her friend, Jeffrey Dancort (Marshall Bell), who happens to be an inventor, is upset at the commonality of such accidents. He creates a non-reusable needle that retracts after one use and prevents pricking. This is wear the drama begins.
Healthcare workers quickly learn about the new needle and are eager to use it, but the hospitals they work in will not purchase the product. Turns out, these hospitals could be using the safer, one-use-only needles, but they are being pressured by corrupt medical supply companies to buy cheaper products.
Dancort soon finds himself shut out and frustrated by his predicament. He turns to a small Houston law firm—run by Weiss and his straight-laced partner Paul Danziger (co-director Mark Kassen), after being repeatedly rejected by nearly everyone else.
Weiss, being the ambitious lawyer that he is, convinces Danziger to take the case despite all the obstacles and they soon find themselves crusading for safer hospital needles on behalf of healthcare workers. Unfortunately, Weiss prepares for the case with heroin, cocaine binges and hookers.
Neither Danziger nor Dancort notice Weiss’s shenanigans at first, but as is the case with most drug addicts, everything comes crashing down. Weiss almost loses an important ally when a Texas senator (Kate Burton) quickly notices cocaine on his face. He also misses quite a bit of work when his drug use lands him in the hospital with liver disease, pneumonia, and pulmonary problems.
The rest of the movie goes back and forth between telling the story of two lawyers going against a big corporate bully and Weiss’ self destruction. It’s like taking Erin Brockovich and Requiem for a Dream and merging them into one. On paper it sounds like a great merger, but there is too much going on to successfully tell each story. The firm’s accomplishments in helping Dancort are often overshadowed by Weiss’ struggles.
The corruption within the healthcare industry seems boring when put next to Evan’s character, which is unfortunate considering that the movie is based on actual events. The industry really did attempt to keep a safer product off the market because it was slightly more expensive. It’s an important issue that is easily forgotten.
Luckily Evan’s performance as the tragic young lawyer is inspired. He somehow manages to make Weiss pathetic and brilliant at the same time. His portrayal really makes you leave amazed by the fact that Mike Weiss was a real person.
Reach contributor Mike Zepda here.
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