Puncture is one of those stories of two people attempting to overcome insurmountable odds in an attempt to do the right thing. Even though things look bad for them throughout, do they ever give up? Of course not. There wouldn’t be much of a movie here if they did. Films like this tend to have you rooting for the underdog from the very start, and when done really well, you start to care about more than just their cause, you begin to care about what happens to the characters themselves. Puncture manages to achieve the former, but unfortunately, not the latter.
The film tells the story of two lawyers, Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) and Paul Danzinger (Mark Kassen). They run a small law firm that deals mostly with claims cases that seem to be keeping them barely afloat. One day, they have a consultation with a nurse who accidentally pricked herself with a needle while treating a convulsing patient who was overdosing on drugs, which ends up infecting her with HIV. A friend of hers, Jeffrey Dancort (Marshall Bell), has invented a needle that prevents such accidents from occurring. The problem is, the hospitals refuse to buy it.
Mike and Paul go about trying to rally support from the Nurses’ Association while going to several hospitals in an attempt to sell the product. However, all the hospitals do is give terrible excuses like already having a contract with another company for needles. They quickly realize that they may be in over their heads as the leading medical supplier for the country attempts to block them at every turn using resources that Mike and Paul don’t have, like millions of dollars to buy people off.
As mentioned earlier, Puncture does manage to get you to care about the cause, which really isn’t that difficult to do. You’d have to be pretty heartless not to care about nurses having to deal with the dangers of accidentally being pricked with infected needles. It becomes sickening to hear the excuses that the hospitals and medical suppliers use like already having a contract or that the safety needles would cost a little more to make. For the frequency at which these accidents occur, it should really be a no-brainer.
However, where Puncture does not succeed is in getting us to care about the characters involved. The story mainly focuses on Mike, a drug addict who gets attached to the case and is willing to do whatever is necessary, even when his partner Paul thinks they should drop it when they go broke. The problem is, he does very little to differentiate himself from the multiple other drug addicts we’ve seen on screen, and with very little development, there’s little reason to care about what happens to him. Paul is focused on very little, so the same thing ends up happening.
While there is an interesting story here, the execution of it is done in a rather bland manner, making large parts of the film dull and slowly paced. It starts off well, but with the lack of development for the main characters, and even the supporting characters (such as Dancort or Nathaniel Price (Brett Cullen), a lawyer for the medical supplier), it never really pulls the audience into what should be a compelling story of overcoming the odds.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a film like this before, and it’s already drawn multiple comparisons to Erin Brokovich, an example of how such a film can be done really well. In that film, the main character is developed quite well and the film is told is an interesting way so as to get the audience engaged as she “fights the good fight” for a good cause against a company that has poisoned several people.
The other main problem with Puncture comes at the very end. After waiting through the whole film while these two lawyers attempt to garner support, we await a trial scene showing us what happened afterwards, but it never comes. There was a great opportunity to add a great deal of drama with an engaging finale, but instead, the writer opted to take the lazy route of merely giving us captions to tell us what happened after the point where the film ends, cheating the audience out of what would have probably been the most interesting part of the film.
It’s a shame this story couldn’t have been done more justice as it really is an interesting one. This is the first screenplay from Chris Lopata, so perhaps it was just a simple case of a writer not having enough experience to tell this story in a interesting way. At the very least, we do get a good performance from Chris Evans, who brings his all to the character of Mike.
Looking at the Blu-Ray itself, we get a nice, sharp picture in a 2.40 transfer. Audio is also quite sharp with dialogue coming through loud and clear. Unfortunately, the studio opted to include no special features other than a handful of previews for some of their other releases. It would have been interesting to see interviews with the directors and writer to see what drew them to this story and their process of how they went about making it into a movie. I also would have liked to see interviews with some of the actual people involved in the real-life story.
The film is not particularly bad, it just needed to be told in a more interesting way with better execution. This is an important story that could have great emotional impact, but not when it’s told in a bland manner like this. That, and a complete lack of actual special features make this Blu-Ray impossible to recommend.
Puncture is not particularly bad, it just needed to be told in a more interesting way with better execution.