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Opening this true story with a young nurse mother Vicky Rogers (Vinessa Shaw) departing for work at the hospital we witness her accidental stabbing herself with a needle while trying to calm a boisterous patient. Fast forward a few years later and we meet two law partners - Mike Weiss (Chris Evans, brilliant in a demanding role and boasting one of the most impressive physiques in cinema!) and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) - both seemingly committed to idealistic cases but bogged down in the routine accident settlement cases to make a living. Enter Vicky Rogers, now with full blown AIDS she contracted form the needle puncture we observed and asking Mike and Paul to take on a case of making the hospitals across the country aware of a retractable safety needle invented by engineer Jeffrey Matthew Dancort (Marshall Bell), who owns the Safety Point Company, but is unable to sell his product to any hospital from the United Medical group, apart from San Antonio Memorial. Mike and Paul are committed to Vicky and the cause and take the case on, only to be blindsided by hospital purchasing agents who want to save the hospital money and not buy the slightly more expensive safety needle. As the young men take on the horrors of the case they encounter the powerhouse lawyer Nathaniel Price (Brett Cullen) who represents the stonewall of United Medical. The money in the office of the young lawyers runs out and Paul wants to pass the case on to another law group, but Mike wants to keep the case, gathers mountains of evidence to prove that hospitals and supply companies are preventing the distribution and sales of the safety needle. He even gains the support of Senator O'Reilly (Kate Burton) until she withdraws her support as United Medical makes a huge contribution to her campaign!
Complicating the tense story is the fact that Mike is addicted to cocaine, pain pills and heroin and his addiction is constantly resulting in his being late and missing deadlines. At the point where Mike decides to give in despite his idealistic motives to win the case the story ends with a staggering reality. The results of the story are given on the screen before the credits role.
This is a very strong story, well directed an written, and in many ways due to the bravura performance of Chris Evans drives home some realities we all need to acknowledge: money and greed speak louder than patient and hospital staff safety. Food for thought.
The movie is one of those that tells a tale of injustice and a lawyer suing for a large group of people. Finding out that Bono liked this movie so much since it relates to his charity touches on the fact that this tries to be a feel good movie for heart.
It tells a story that after doing research on the facts, safety needles, makes you think. Makes you want to know why the Hospitals have all the power and why we have no health care in America.
Wish it touched more on personal lives of the lawyers especially since one wrote the script. Great movie.
But as the story unfolds, we come face to face the complicated deceit at mega-corporate levels - This movie shows how some of the large health service manufacturers stonewall any change affecting their profits - even if a million lives could be saved, dangerous diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis C could be reduced.. financial power, legal manipulation and finally criminal intentions..
Performance of Chris Evans both as a young righteous lawyer and also as a drug addict is authentic..and Brett Cullen as the suave high-profile lawyer is effective..
The movie at some level moves in the lines of "Erin Brokovich" another very good true-story-movie dealing the corporates, legal profession, health hazards and the strength of purpose
A brave attempt to make an edgy drama from a current social event, mixing personal intensity with a critique of corporate greed and ethical inertia.
On that score, it might be loosely compared to the 1996 "The Insider," which focused on the tobacco industry. Here it is the hospital and pharmaceutical world. The trigger is a nurse who gets an accidental needle stick, and even though there was and is a solution to most needle sticks, the industry has been slow to change, at the peril of many lives.
The personal side of this is based on the lead lawyer who takes the case of this nurse, which leads to a general uncovering of the problem and a pressuring of the industry almost single-handedly. It also turns out that he's a total coke addict, and his life is in overdrive all the time, with the necessary crashes along the way. The actor here is Chris Evans, who reminded me a little of a young George C. Scott, but without the depth of character Scott managed to bring with his acidity. Evans is key here, and not quite enough. The movie holds him more than he drives the movie, mostly because he has a kind of blankness inside, a practiced intensity rather than a really out of the box abandonment we might find irresistible.
So why watch? Mostly for the plot, the story as it develops and reminds you of how the world works, and how some people have ideals that make them ignore the resistance of the rest of us. The only problem with this is that it's a story we've seen before, in the outline. It needs to be known and told, for sure, but maybe a twenty minute spot on Sixty Minutes might serve the cause best. Here, the drama and the social justice are jammed together into a single, overlong, somewhat predictable movie. Good might not be good enough.
*Also try - Lincoln Lawyer & Runaway Jury
The story is definitely a legal drama no matter what you have heard. It might not be your typical legal drama with all the cliché's you are used to, but is that really a bad thing? The story keeps you interested in whats going to happen to the case and whats going to happen to Mike.
Chris Evans does a good job creating a character and making you care for the character. Even if the character always does not make the right decision. Evans portrays Mike Weiss as a flawed anti hero. Yet you wonder if he is fighting this case because he wants to help others or if he wants to help himself.
I really liked this drama, especially since it was a true story. Especially since the project was started by Mike Weiss's real life partner who had no connections to Hollywood, but worked very hard to get this movie made which has a very important message.
I gave this movie a 7 out of 10 because while it is a good movie, it does movie a little slow. The ending is also abrupt and I think it could have been longer. But if you are a fan of Chris Evans, please see this movie. He takes this role very seriously and you could tell he worked hard at this movie. You will not be disappointed in him.
The actual winning of the case, the courtroom drama itself, happens with screen titles at the end. Some seem to think this is a cop out, but they have missed the point that the story is about the four participants; Mike Weiss, Paul Danziger, Jeffrey Dancourt and Vicky the nurse and how they got to where they were, and not about the winning of the case, that is just the reason why the story was worth telling.
If you are not moved by this film then you are lacking in perception and should maybe stick to cartoons and soaps.
When the nurse Vicky Rogers (Vinessa Shaw) seeks them out, they learn that she has contracted AIDS a couple of years ago when she was accidentally pinpricked with a contaminated needle by a violent patient. Vicky shows a retractable safety needle invented by the engineer Jeffrey Matthew Dancort (Marshall Bell), who owns the Safety Point Company, but is unable to sell his product to any hospital from the United Medical but the San Antonio Memorial Hospital.
The Danziger and Weiss accept the case and go to court against the United Medical, defended by the powerful lawyer Nathaniel Price (Brett Cullen). Sooner they see all the doors closed in their fight against the powerful mafia of the medical supply system.
"Puncture" is the third American film that I see this year ("Love and Other Drugs" and "Side Effects" are the other two) about the medical care system in the United States. Using partially the IMDb storyline, this is a David and Goliath law drama showing a story of idealism versus mafia apparently based on a true story.
The hopeless plot is engaging and the cast has good performances. However Jeffrey Matthew Dancort seems to be a contradictory character since the guy is completely wasted when he has a chance to present his project to investors. The ambiguous fate of Mike Weiss induces the viewer that he has been murdered but it is not clear. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Código de Honra" ("Honor Code")
I agree with some other comments. This film only further shows how versatile Chris Evans is. Not sure how seriously I took him 10 years ago in X-Men other than doing a decent job and being funny and quick witted. But he has definitely shown a larger range. He still gets thrown more action kind of roles. But if this movie is any indication he can definitely handle more complex dramatic roles as well. Personally I really liked this film. I thought the story was very engaging. And honestly I was very drawn in by Chris Evans' performance. Obviously there is no extension of the imagination in a drug addicted lawyer. But he plays it extremely convincingly. Other than that all the other supporting roles are done well and support well.
Some of the small criticisms is that it is a bit cliché in the goliath and David story line and all. And like one user pointed out I would have liked to see them show more about the court case itself that the entire film builds up to. But I don't really share the criticism of it being all about Chris's character. I think that was the intent. To show someone who was so smart with so much passion but also with many demons and vices. I think his story was as important as the case he was fighting for was.
All and all I found very enjoyable to watch. I actually didn't have the highest hopes but was pleasantly surprised by the excellent acting which more than made up for some of the more common or cliché parts. Check it out if you get a chance.
Puncture is a movie somewhere between indie rawness and made for TV production values. That is to say it is humble, yet it doesn't shoot itself in the foot as it begins with a single nurse's AIDS infection and her desire to champion a family friend's invention that would have prevented it. She sees a television ad for personal injury attorneys and, surprisingly to them, wants their services more so her friend's invention can be implemented than for personal gain. The two attorneys in the shoe-string operation of Weiss and Danziger couldn't be more unsuited for taking on the wealthy and powerful health-care establishment, yet due to Weiss's obsessive interest in winning the unwinnable they do. Chris Evan's portrayal of the drug-addicted Weiss drives this movie. Yes the story is solid, but the human frailty of Mike Weiss as brought to life by Evans is commendable. Weiss is a train-wreck of a person, however he is an unstoppable force who becomes a big thorn in the side of the health-care industries largest buying group. In spite of his drug use, he makes a case that scares the hell out of big pharma. Besides this being a compelling story, Chris Evans is the reason the viewer will want to watch this film. I was never bored even in slow spots due to the constant tension Chris Evan's character brought. Recommended.
Rant over...this movie is wonderful. I spent 16 years in the healthcare industry and suffered 3 needle stick injuries in that time. I was lucky...no HIV, no Hepatitis, no other blood borne infections. This movie tells the story of one nurse who wasn't so lucky. Her plight comes to the attention of a small time firm partnered by Michael Weiss (Evans) and the founder (Mark Kassen). A new safety needle has been invented, but the bottom line is, nobody wants to spend a little extra money to protect their "slaves". I was very surprised that a few of those evil greedy pukes didn't have Weiss bumped off by a hit man.
If you enjoyed ERIN BROKOVICH (and I did!) you will probably love this movie. Supporting cast includes Vinessa Shaw, Jesse L. Martin and Michael Biehn.
So we're dealing with a couple of school friends who set up a legal practice together focussing mainly on ambulance chasing. They're contacted by a nurse who was accidentally stabbed by a hypodermic needle in the course of her job and contracted HIV. The crux of the case is that hospitals collectively shunned a safety needle that could've prevented this and hundreds of thousands of similar accidents across the USA from happening. So open and shut case right? ... enter corrupt healthcare suppliers and their top-notch legal team.
To complicate matters, one of the prosecuting lawyers has a serious drug habit. It seems the bipolar lifestyle the drugs provides actually fuels his legal brilliance ... up to a point. However it doesn't fly so well in the big leagues where it starts to undermine their image and jeopardise the case.
So it becomes a test of ethics and staying power against a backdrop of money worries, a campaign of dirty tricks and the lawyer's drug problem.
These guys and their practice are really in no kind of shape to be in this fight so it's hard to see any kind of positive outcome for them which makes it interesting.
This is the best performance I've seen from Chris Evans, but the other supporting actors were great too.
While scenes surrounding the drug-use are more whimsical, the bulk of it is filmed in a very grounded and unspectacular style. Don't get me wrong - it's still very competently directed and acted - just no fancy frills. For my money though fancy frills would be entirely inappropriate here. While not crowd-pleasing or award-winning, the realism lends itself well to this kind of story and makes it believable.
I don't think this will be a popular choice, but I got a hell of a lot out of it and am glad I saw it. It's a must-watch for anyone with an interest in how the concept of justice is brutally redefined when it comes to big business, and how just about anyone can be bought or controlled.
This is the story of Mike Weiss , a talented lawyer , who with his partner , chose to take on the might of the drug companies and hospital administrators to get them to use a syringe that will save thousands of lives. The trouble is , Mike Weiss is partial to using needles himself as he has a bad drug habit.
The Mistake they made with this film is they concentrated too much on Weiss and not enough on the battle with pharmaceutical companies. The film builds up the story to the point of an exciting court case then It just ends Finish,. No court case .Just a lazy bit of on screen information at the end describing what happened. It's as if the money ran out and the directors and cast just walked away.
Puncture is a big disappointment and it's no surprise this was tucked away on a movie channel and not on the cinema.
Until very recently, in the United States alone, injuries involving medical needles resulted in health-care workers being exposed to blood-borne diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis etc) at a rate of about 800,000 a year (cf the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health). Today, in the Third World, millions still die to needle related deaths annually.
In 1989, inventor Thomas J. Shaw stumbled upon a news report about a doctor who contracted HIV from a needle-stick injury. Spurred by his belief that engineers were neglecting the dangers faced by medical staff, Shaw set about designing a "safety needle". With the assistance of a $50,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), he was able to do so. That's when the trouble started.
Attempting to get his safety syringes into hospitals, Shaw increasingly met resistance. The source of his woes? A corrupt arrangement between a big needle maker (Becton Dickinson) and Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs). What are GPOs? A union of small companies who buy products in bulk from bigger companies. This allows the GPOs to buy cheaply and pass on the savings to those they supply, which in this case amounts to hundreds of private and state-run hospitals.
Medical GPOs - essentially purchasing cartels - were originally formed with the intention of saving money and protecting hospitals. It turns out, however, that Becton Dickinson was bribing GPOs, and politicians, to block the implementation of innovative medical products, not just syringes. Becton Dickinson's withholding of gear, and its ability to manipulate the cost of the gear it allowed onto the market, would cost its main consumer, the US health-care system, billions of unnecessary dollars.
In 1998, Shaw sought the help of Michael Weiss and Paul Danziger, two lawyers. Michael and Paul drafted up a lawsuit against the GPOs, but the case never went to court. The big companies bought off politicians, lawyers, put the squeeze on Michael and Paul, crippled their law business and bludgeoned Shaw until he agreed to settle out of court.
Unsurprisingly, Weiss would soon die of an overdose. Some believe he was assassinated. If so, his death would echo the "mysterious deaths" of many attorneys embarking upon similar cases. Consider the "mysterious deaths" of Shannon Roth and Thelma Colbert, both US attorneys, and both of whom were working on a case against Novation LLC, a notorious medical supplier charged with anticompetitive practises. At least 5 other attorneys working the case were also pressured into resignation. Consider too US attorney Jonathan Luna, "suicided" after being pressured to stop revealing links between cartels and government lobbyists. Journalists and whistle-blowers like Lynn Everard and Mary Walsh are similarly blacklisted for talking about medical cartels.
Directed by Adam and Mark Kassen, "Puncture" is a legal drama which documents Shaw's attempts to get his needle on the market. It primarily focuses on attorney Michael Weiss (Chris Evans), the young lawyer who attempted to take the GPOs down. In the film, Weiss is presented as a roiling cauldron of contradictions. Though a talented lawyer with an idealistic streak, Weiss also forever indulges in drugs, sex and booze, and sees his GPO case as but a path to fame and money. Weiss' conflicts echo those of his partner, Paul Danziger, who's torn between the pragmatism of running a failing law business - a pragmatism which requires him to focus on smaller cases just to earn a living - and an idealism which mandates that he stands up against bigger fish.
"Puncture" never pretends to be anything other than a humble genre film. This is a David vs Goliath tale, in the vein of other fine whistle-blower dramas ("Silkwood", "Norma Rae", "The Insider" etc). The difference here is "Puncture's" grim tone. Here the bad guys don't get taken down, the case never makes it to court and our heroes are virtually ruined. Epitomising the film's pessimism are its references to the Big Tobacco cases of the 1990s, a battle which Michael Mann's "The Insider" presents as a victory won, but which "Puncture" sees as just a conciliatory payoff designed to keep business running as usual.
"Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest place," characters in "Puncture" repeatedly state. But the film itself cautions against gung-ho optimism. When you're talking about hospital supply and pharmaceutical industries, which are worth hundreds of billions of dollars, are expert at eradicating competition, have politicians on their payroll, have massive legal teams and which are themselves wholly or partially owned by giant banks or umbrella groups, you must expect fierce resistance. Businesses have long demonstrated a willingness to kill in the name of profits, and as the climax of "Puncture" shows, even when you've limited the way they prey on the relatively well-defended, they simply hop across the Atlantic and start preying on the defenceless.
8.5/10 – See "The Verdict" (1982) and "The Lincoln Lawyer". Incidentally, "Puncture" stars Vinessa Shaw as a young nurse who contracts HIV from a needle. Shaw famously played Domino in "Eyes Wide Shut", a young woman who is likewise revealed to be HIV positive.
I wish I had submitted this review earlier. The film certainly deserves more attention. Another film, released in 2013, Dallas Buyers Club, is also very similar in a couple respects (drugs and AIDS). DBC is by far the better acted and more action oriented, but the overall story of Puncture gives it a slight edge. Both are films that should be in top 100 of all time lists.
Worth a Sunday double feature viewing as well as an awesome way to introduce and engage students in the subjects.
It can make the soul ache and the blood boil when the folks are made to see the complete insensitivity that Capitalism can create. Most of the time there is a "cremation of care" mindset that is essential to this rampant rape of the populace and the parasitic practices by those entities that the Supreme Court so inaccurately called "people", corporations.
This film is cultural nobility, art as achievement. Another bold attempt at enlightenment. These types of stories are an antithesis to apathy. A stirring of the senses, that are so often dulled and dumbed down, distracted and disillusioned. If it inspires one person to do something to create a better world then it was worth it. If it makes one lawyer work pro-bono, then it was worth it. if it levitates one obese couch potato, then it was worth it.
A well crafted and well played morality play that can be, and one hopes will be, seen by the folks and fire up the folks, and free the folks from the propaganda, and manipulation of the media. But probably not. We, the folks, are in the end, a self-centered species that seems to be as insensitive as the villains in this film. Big Corp.
Chris Evans as one of the crusading lawyers shows he can act more than a superhero. But the movie shows a bit too much of the drug dependency.
A huge lesson: remember to make sure your doctor or hospital uses safe syringes! Would have liked to see a little more about how the industry was brought to change after the case.
1- The safety needle as shown in the film is a retraction model. In other words most punctures in a healthcare setting happen when the healthcare provider attempts to re-cap the needle after use, or by handling the syringe until you could break off the needle into an approved safety container. However, in the movie the nurse pricks herself as a result of trying to administer an injection to an unruly patient. In such a case even the safety needle would not have prevented the nurse in the movie from puncturing herself.
2 - It's also worth pointing out that an equal number of healthcare accidents resulting in infection from broken skin occur in the laboratory due to the in-hand breakage of a glass test tubes, which subsequently cut the hands of the laboratorians and infects them. The safety needle does nothing to protect these healthcare accidents either. In fact, there is a company (Greiner) that sells only plastic test tubes but glass test tubes are still the majority of test tubes used in healthcare today. So where's Hollywood's outrage about this?
3 - I was around at the time this movie took place and can unequivocally tell you that since 1984 every hospital was searching for a better, safer needle. The liability aspects of AIDS alone drove this movement. In fact there were a number of safety needles available at the time that were in use and were invented by a number of different people,So, basically this movie was about some slick sleazy law firm that forced a hospital buying group to buy someones particular safety needle design over someone else's design; thus giving that particular inventor a corner on the market.
4 - Why were safety needles not in use by the group already? You can thank Gov't healthcare reform for that. When the Clintons tried to reform healthcare and failed, they did succeed at forcing the industry to reform itself. From this grew hospital buying groups, which hospitals would join in order to have greater purchasing power by making group purchases as opposed to a single hospital making the purchase. These bulk purchases would have high-quantity discounts, thus reducing the cost of the item and reducing the cost of healthcare as the Gov't was forcing them to do. The problem is that high quantity purchases resulted in a large stock of inventory that had to be depleted before you could buy anything new (like safety needles). However, you don't see Hollywood making mention in this movie about how their favorite Democratic President was responsible for delaying the use of safety needles in hospitals; or how the new social healthcare law pushed by our current President will create even more situations like the one in this movie.
5 - Lastly, the stereotypes of this movie are sickening. First they showed a Hospital Purchasing Agent bureaucrat instructing the attorney not to show the safety needle to his nurses because they would want it. A few problems here, first nurses aren't the only people that get infected from these accidents (in fact of all healthcare workers they are in the minority). Second the nurses would have already known about safety needles, as I stated above, there were an abundance of them from a slew of different manufacturers. I work with Hospital Purchasing Agents and they are real A-holes, but they would never say what this guy said in the movie.
6 - When they show the buying group conference (the one that costs $25,000 to attend) they make it look like an insider meeting attended by the rich blue-bloods. I've attended these trade shows and they are nothing of the type. Mostly they take place in a large open conference center with a crowd of booths filled with working people trying to make a living. The crowd of booths would also have multiple manufacturers selling a diverse line of products, including multiple types of safety needles from multiple manufacturers. The fact being that there was no shortage of safety needles at these shows and they were offered from a diverse set of different manufacturers.
Like I said, if this movie wasn't advertised as "true' I probably would have liked it. However, I couldn't in good conscience allow them to perpetrate this lie without speaking up. If you doubt me, think to yourself, when was the last time a lawyer (especially an ambulance chaser) really did something that was not for their own personal gain?