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Puncture is a 2011 film based on the true story of a drug addicted lawyer looking to take on the might of the medical profession in America. Initially I dismissed it as the subject matter didn't really interest me, but it was on after another film I'd been watching and so I just left it on. Pretty soon I was really enjoying it. The only thing is it's not exactly the sort of film that you enjoy, More appreciate the acting talent and direction that forms it.
Chris Evans is hot property at the moment, so it's refreshing to see him star in films that aren't quite so high brow as Captain America or The Avengers. It's a low key true story in terms of a film, but quite a large issue that centred around the use of plastic needles in hospitals. The central issue here is that plastic needles are cheaper but more dangerous, and the increase in the number of cases of HIV and hepatitis rose because of this money saving manoeuvre. US hospitals choose what they use depending on their financial contracts, and the engineer who created SafetyPoint, a safe needle that ejects the needle part after use so it can't be used again, can't even get a look in to hospitals because their owners want to do things cheaper rather than safer.
This is the case that Evans' character Mike Weiss and his partner Paul Danziger are faced with. Taking on cases this big for a small law firm is nigh on impossible without the financial clout that a multi million dollar corporation would have, and the financial and political angles all come into it, as does the hotshot lawyer with a team of umpteen across the table from them. Everything looks and feels somewhat like a poor man's adaptation of a John Grisham novel in many ways, but ultimately it's darker and more real than this. There are no glossy courtrooms, only a David vs Goliath story that you don't know how it's going to finish.
Evans plays Weiss very well. Himself a drug addict using needles, this never seems to to occur to him, focusing only on the needle in hospital. A failed marriage, an ultimatum from a senator and his opponent confident in his misgivings as a combination are not even enough to get him to stop, and before long it starts to affect the bearings on the case. The actor's charisma translates very well onto screen, and it's the contrast between Weiss' care free attitude and Danziger's good boy caution that provides a lot of the drama. The two couldn't be more different in terms of the lives they lead outside of work, and it shows in it as well. Good acting from Evans and Mark Kassen makes sure this element keeps going, and strong support from recognisables such as Brett Cullen and Marshall Bell also contribute very well to this being a decent film.
But that's all it is, which is so often the case with lower level less high exposure films based on true stories. It's almost the sort of film you'd expect to see on one of the lesser movie channels such as True Movies, or late night on BBC 2 in a couple years from now rather than topping the billing at the Box Office, at it's perhaps only because of Evans' presence that this film got more exposure than it probably would have done otherwise. Either way, it's a film well worth watching even if it doesn't have the appeal in principle. Good acting, intriguing story, riveting ending, well worth a go.