Saturday, March 03, 2012

"Puncture" (2011) - Movie Review

“Puncture” obviously reminded of “Michael Clayton” not alone due to the fact of a troubled lawyer and the big villain of giant corporation but also due to the dynamics of that lawyer amongst his other characters. George Clooney played Michael Clayton as the once successfully contented lawyer beginning to question his line of work and mainly getting tired of that work. He has a gambling problem and his family is disintegrated. His long time mentor and friend is in a spiral of self destruction. He does not have a good time during film. So is Chris Evans playing Michael David Weiss who almost plays Clayton in his young years only that Mike is a high functioning drug addict and we are not really sure of his drive beyond the drugs.

Directed by Wassen brothers, “Puncture” places its film based on a true story of two ambulance chasing lawyers Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) and Mike Weiss trying to get the newly invented syringe that could preempt tens of thousands lives yearly of accidental pricking by a contaminated needle. The guy who invented this is Jeffrey Dancort (Marshall Bell), an old and hard working Texas man. The film chronicles their effort to get their case around while being bullied and bludgeoned quite calmly and effectively by the United Medical Group. Their reason being the necessity to revamp the production and the cost that has to be incurred. Despite its ultimate safety, this causes them to deny any possible opportunity for Jeffrey to mass produce this.

Chris Evans is in the paths of what Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt were. While he is not going blazing guns as them, he definitely gets type casted on the roles he gets and he does not get much to do with that either. Here he is taking his very first step towards trying something outside of his regular roles. This is the kind of role that would beg Nicolas Cage to go crazy on his toes to play and note that fact he sufficiently played a amped up druggie in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans” admirably. Evans does his best and I would say he works hard. He makes the man bleed through the emotions and we see him capable, miserable, desperate, brilliant and pathetic.

Paul and Mike gets to meet former nurse Vicky Rogers (Vinessa Shaw) a happy mother who got accidentally pricked by a contaminated needle at the start of film to get infected by AIDS. Now she is not seeking for big pay off rather get Dancort’s product to make a difference in several lives. Mike is clearly distracted yet absorbed by this story. He smells something huge and whether the drive for is to do good is unsure but he pursues it with an obsession. Paul is the sanity check in this partnership. A regular Joe trying to make ends meet with a baby on his way. Paul goes along as he follows his gut remembering the times and the reason they got into law school.

The film is not the kind of fast paced action in a law and order deal one would see. Yet it tries to have a conspiracy angle in mystery men and car following them around as they make noises. This film based on a true story has all the flavour of something great. It has the two main characters balancing this act of high octane drug use and the semblance of normalcy. Mike is not portrayed as a bad person but a druggie who forgets meetings, paying bills, basic cleanliness and what not. He is consistently shooting himself with cocaine, heroin, cigarettes, alcohol and pain killers to top it off. For a person who is putting his body through such an ordeal, he is in a terrific shape.

There is a wonderful scene where Mike in the sadness of being lonely of deservingly his wife leaving calls a number from a back of a newspaper titled “sex therapy”. Chris Evans thoroughly shows prospect in those scenarios. He brings the same when he is asked to remove himself from the case by a Senator. We see a lonely sad man hooked on to drugs and desperately trying to keep himself head above the water though not showing any sign of concerns for anything. We are completely unsure of his priorities beyond drugs but then again those are his only priorities.

“Puncture” is a good film that missed the train on a great opportunity. There is an element of human connection missing forth outside of Mike and Paul. There is the opponent lawyer Nathaniel Price played by Brett Cullen who plays him in a manner that dances on the line of sneaky and pragmatic. In the final scenes he has a candid discussion with Mike and I cannot believe how much of a great film this could have been. I enjoyed “Puncture” but I wanted to enjoy it beyond its capacity and there it missed a beat in one more strong character. Yet I would definitely recommend the film for Chris Evans and some good supporting performance with a solid founding screenplay and direction.

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