Puncture (2011) Poster

(2011)

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8/10
A great movie
ripe_513 December 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but the reviews seem to go from one extreme to the other, i belong the ones that really liked the movie. It's a great story (based on a true one) and the acting is top notch and seriously it is well worth watching, despite the bone crushing judgement of some reviewers' (i bet some of them work for the "evil" greedy companies that this story is about :P jokes aside, i'm shocked how appalling the movie's success is compared to how interesting the film is. Just see it for yourself, don't expect too much, then decide. If you're not a cynical a-hole, I reckon you'll enjoy the movie like i did.
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8/10
Corporate Malfeasance and Public Health Issues
gradyharp5 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
PUNCTURE is an apt title for this movie, a true story that pokes a hole in the corporate and governmental greed that endangers public health, and a story about the lawyer who despite poking holes in his veins as a drug addict brought to the attention of the public a safety problem of overwhelming significance. It is tautly written by Paul Danziger (a character in the story), Ela Their and Chris Lopata and directed by Adam and Mark Kassen. It is an important film for public viewing and knowledge and awareness.

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.

Grady Harp
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10/10
This is why I love going to the theater!
saulcook25 September 2011
I didn't know what to expect going into "Puncture," but what I found, surpassed even my most hopeful wishes for an evening at the movies. "Puncture" is a perfectly acted true-life story that still has me thinking about its message 3 days later. It was gripping from the opening credits and I was emotionally pulled in a number of directions. Chris Evans proved he can really act, not just dress up as a superhero and run around a big budgeted set. Mark Kassen was marvelous alongside him as his legal partner and the Houston backdrop made for an unlikely protagonist in and of itself. A story that needed to be shared and with tremendous talent. I only wish there were more films like "Puncture." I encourage people to go see the film.
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10/10
Great movie
buypluto29 November 2011
I watch this movie with no expectations or aware of the cast. I have an eye for details and as I watched this the scene where they open the refrigerator and there is a news clipping on the door and it say Bellaire High School. I hit pause and rewind and freeze and read the article. No way. This movie is real and it happened in my hometown of Houston. I went to Bellaire HS and I was thrown for a loop.

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.
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7/10
Gripping movie..commendable performances
unomeyetudont16 June 2012
Movies based on true stories can sometimes be dull and dragging, unless they are well-directed and this one is more than well-made.. the first hour which goes into building of the story is slightly slow-paced.

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
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6/10
A familiar mix of personal high stakes and social wrongs, not quite compelling
secondtake29 April 2012
Puncture (2011)

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.
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7/10
A different take on the lawyer movie. Starts slow, by the end you are rooting for a drug addict. Not a usual thing. I say B+
cosmo_tiger30 November 2011
"Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places" This is the true story about Mike Weiss (Evans) a personal injury lawyer who takes on a huge health supply company after one of his clients is infected with a dirty needle. The client is a nurse in a hospital that uses plastic needles that are re-used over and over. Mike wants to make it so every hospital only uses the one time use only needles that his other client manufactures. The only problem is that Mike is a drug addicted mess. This movie is deceiving. The first half hour to me was a little slow and wasn't sure if I could make it through. When it picked up, it really picked up and sucked me in. By the end of the movie you are very engrossed and are pulling for someone you normally wouldn't. A movie much like "Runaway Jury" mixed with "The Lincoln Lawyer", not quite as good as "Lincoln Lawyer" though. Overall, a very good law movie that will make you think. I give it a B+.

*Also try - Lincoln Lawyer & Runaway Jury
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7/10
Good movie but not perfect
lilicedude22714 January 2012
Puncture tells the true story of Mike Weiss. Mike Weiss is a lawyer and a drug addict. He has started a case against a major medical supply company. For not supplying hospitals with safety needles that could prevent hundreds of thousands of disease infections each year from patients to nurses.

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.
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9/10
Potentially heartbreaking
visanchezdiaz23 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Yes is true, Chris Evans doesn't cut as the drama actor or the best performer, or so I thought. His performance here completely changed my perception about him, definitely worth the time to watch, not just as a weekend movie or a "not-a-better-thing-to-do" movie, but as an actual ground-shaker. He does get in the role and you believe him. I'm not going to spoil you the movie, but I must add that at a point you get to feel sorry for the pour bastard trapped in his drug addiction yet following a more than just cause despite all odds, makes you wish he gets better and solves the case, you know... the happy ending; but it is a true story and the happy endings are for fairy tales, at least in the shoes of the hero in this pic. Very real, emotional to a certain point, leaves you with some feelings of anguish and for my personal appreciation, it's a potentially heartbreaking story.
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9/10
A film that does tell an important story.
jgw32118 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When you start to watch this film you could easily think, "Oh no! Not another sordid drug film" and give up; but persevere, the film is worth it. The drugs continue, they are not just a side issue and play centre stage. The film has to be like this though as it is a real story which is being portrayed as it was, warts and all. The hero, lawyer Mike Weiss, is hard to empathise with; there is a brief period where he tries to give up drug taking and we see further pain as he goes through "cold turkey", but generally we have little patience for his self inflicted pain. Finally, after a plot point that would be a spoiler so I omit, his partner takes it on. He has been reluctant all the way through to take on this expensive case that is unlikely to succeed, and that they just can't afford. This is where the honesty of the screen play pays off, you end up respecting the hero even if you still can't like 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.
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7/10
Idealism versus Mafia
claudio_carvalho31 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The lawyers Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) are partners in the Danziger and Weiss and they both are idealistic. Mike is a drug-addicted and needy for love man and Paul is a family man with a pregnant wife.

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")
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8/10
Surprisingly Mesmerizing
politically_incorrect20430 November 2011
I actually didn't know this was more or less a true story. Which does make it a bit more interesting although not in the least surprising since the medical industry has always been corrupt in this way. But on to the film.

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.
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7/10
Chris Evans Shines: Sometimes From The Darkest Place Comes A Bright Light.
AudioFileZ18 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Ever since the massive industrialization of Europe and America in the late 1800's corruption has been a close bedfellow. It stands to follow that the bigger the industry the more unsavory, and in the dark, the shady manipulation of how that industry flourishes is apt to be. Healthcare, and related businesses, contributes a usually large share of the GNP (~20%) in the US. It has been speculated to likely top 3- trillion dollars by 2011 (based on figures from the previous years). With so many wheels being greased by so much money it would seem hard to control unless there exists a banding together of the giants within the industry. That is what the movie "Puncture" explores: How the largest health-care related purchasing organization has created an almost miraculous manipulation of the entire industry. It continues to affect not only paying patients, but the frontline care providers such as nurses, and to a larger extent the poorest countries whose associated outcomes circle back to spread disease (think AIDS) which circle the globe. More specifically, Puncture tells the story of how a lone inventor created a needle that could prevent cross-contamination by accidental pricks and re-use (the needle could only be used once). The retractable syringe remains, basically, blackballed by the largest health-care buying group monopoly. The only reason for this is purely greed as the needle would be more expensive to produce (profit margins would necessarily less). In other words, untold numbers of health-care providers are at dramatically higher risk for contamination by life- threatening contagions. In a larger world view, lethal diseases are spreading with such efficiency due to the standard plastic syringe's reuse that millions die annually, needlessly, because the retractable syringe is not universally adopted. Think of it this way: untold misery in our world could be dramatically reduced if the greedy bastards who control the health-care business would just allow fair competition. Enter the lawyers, specifically one lawyer as no one, initially, wanted to take on this battle. Well, that was a lengthy setup, but it is the whole reason this movie came to be. Still as of 2012 dangerous plastic syringes that can, and are, being reused are still the US, as well as world standard. Change is slow, even with incalculable needless deaths hanging in the balance. So, this movie has something important to say besides the story itself. Perhaps, out of this most dark place the brightest light may shine to illuminate the tremendous human suffering this is causing and will thus affect change.

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.
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See for yourself
gbacquet21 November 2011
By the time you read this review, you already know what the movie is about so there's no point going over that again. You know it's supposed to be a courtroom drama and a personal one as well as we take a look into Mike Weiss' demons and struggle with his drug addiction. Chris Evans' performance alone is worth the price of admission, but the movie itself, although well-intentioned, fails to deliver. It seemed as though the filmmakers didn't know how to make the two story lines converge coherently and thus gave us a shallow passage through both with an ending that.... Well, I leave it up to you to comment on it after you've seen it. Make no mistake, the movie is worth your time. But don't expect to be shaken or astounded by it; just go and enjoy a good piece of cinema that had great potential but didn't fully live up to it.
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9/10
Inspiring fact-based David Vs. Goliath story
PeachHamBeach25 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Chris Evans gives a passionate and sincerely caring performance as a dedicated but very flawed and troubled attorney going toe to toe with yet another huge, corrupt corporation who doesn't care about hard working employees working in dangerous situations. If the corporations had their way, we'd all be slaves. They'd work us to death, expose us to all the dangers, refuse to protect us, refuse to help pay for treatments for our illnesses/injuries...and then when we finally collapse from exhaustion, they'd shoot us and harvest our organs to make even more money from us.

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.
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8/10
Ideals vs Corruption
Jerominator23 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yes - this is a path well-trodden, but this one's definitely worth a watch as you'll see towards the end.

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.
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8/10
Lock this movie in your radar and engage
ricardovs275 August 2012
I have to be as honest as possible here: the only reason I came to discover this little indie gem was because of Chris "Steve Rogers/Johnny Storm" Evans participation on it. It was one of those lazy, hot weekend nights, just returning from a much needed bar-hopping experience with some good friends, a little wasted and with no sleep whatsoever in the horizon. Clicked on the online services I happen to subscribe and browsed aimlessly, looking for something to entertain myself waiting for Morpheus' call. Saw a picture of Mr. Evans on the cover, looking all somber and bleak, sporting a beard, holding a needle on his hand. Well, the first thing I thought about was "well, folks, I bet Evans is on total Nic-Cage-on-crack mode; this must be fun to watch". And I have clicked on to start. Boy, and I was wrong. The movie is everything except Evans going haywire and stuff. A highly enthralling and interesting subject, supported by an excellent cast and compelling drama, "Puncture" makes a louder thud than anything a few bearded fatsos could dream of, simply by presenting facts and giving us characters we care about. Evans is at his best, aided by the co-director Mark Kassen, the surprisingly restrained Marshall Bell and Bret Cullen in their task to raise some questions. I suggest to watch this precious movie back-to-back with "The Constant Gardener". That aspirin will never be the same again.
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3/10
Forgettable in every sense of the word
trublu21527 August 2015
Puncture tells the true story of two lawyers who take on pharmaceutical companies in hopes of a mass production of cleaner, safer needles. Following Mark Weiss, a drug addled playboy lawyer, we are subjected to countless scenes of drug use all at Chris Evans' expense. Puncture has the premise of a heavy hitting drama that could be littered with great performances, instead we trade all the potential in for one good performance and a woefully uninspired film that suffers at the hands of its' directors. Starting off with a nurse (Vanessa Shaw) being attacked with a dirty needle and contracting a disease from it (I believe it was HIV), Puncture starts heavy handed and gives us a really great opening then it divulges into Weiss, who is more like a coke addled Patrick Bateman minus all the murdering. The film then descends into the depths of a direct to video Erin Brockovich inspired clunker that doesn't allow its audience to fully connect with any of the characters, not even Weiss. We're subjected to countless drug fueled rants that are tried to be passed off as "this guy is a genius" when really its more along the lines of "wow this guy has a serious drug problem and this isn't entertaining in the least". This is really unfortunate because Chris Evans is actually great in this film. He delivers the lines with sincerity and portrays these drug fueled rants very well. It is unfortunate that the filmmakers were not on his level of brilliance throughout this entire film. By the end of the film, Evans may get a standing ovation for his dedicated performance but outside of that, Puncture is better left as a film to watch when there is truly nothing else.
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10/10
Puncture
oldhamwho1120 January 2012
Puncture is a drama about friends, inner demons, corrupt corporations, and fighting for what is right. Everything a good film needs. Chris Evans plays a junkie lawyer who has an obsession with his job. He and his partner take on a huge job by facing a healthcare corporation, because they are not switching to a non-reusable safe needle. The cinematography is really nice, and the drug scenes are very interesting, reminded me of Requiem of a Dream; the camera puts you in the drug experience. Also the acting is great, Mark Kassen who plays Chris Evans' best friend and partner in the law firm does an excellent job of being a supporting friend, sort of an opposite to Evans character, which brings a balance to the film. Also Jesse L. Martin makes an appearance and does a great job as usual. So if you do not like corrupt corporations and think Chris Evans rocks, then see this film it is wroth the watch.
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A courtroom drama with no courtroom and no drama.
valleyjohn11 November 2011
Described by Sky Movies as a thrilling courtroom drama , all i can think is that person who does the film descriptions for Sky ,can't have watched this film. Puncture has everything going for it. It has a Good cast and potentially a good story but directors Adam and Mark Kassen have made a real pigs ear of this one.

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.
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Voices of the voiceless
tieman647 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
"In a society governed passively by free markets, organised greed always defeats disorganised democracy." - Matt Taibbi

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.
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9/10
Nearly Perfect True Story
in19847 January 2014
9.4 of 10. Dramatic presentation of a documentary. I.e., actors, sets, directors, sex added to a true story. On par with Michael Clayton, but better because it's not just a hypothetical story. More like Jim Carrey's I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) and Matt Damon's The Informant (2009) morphed together.

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.
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9/10
We the Folks
LeonLouisRicci24 December 2012
A straightforward telling of a real life event that once more brings to the surface a heart-breaking, frustrating, reality about corporate greed and the human condition. This is one reason that the Movies are an essential part of our culture. It can shine a light (and it can come from the darkness) on these injustices.

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.
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9/10
The issue is so shocking - watch it for an education
phd_travel23 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is an "Erin Brokovich"/"A Civil Action" type little lawyer going up against big bad corporation true story. It's affecting because it deals with such a shocking matter. The background is that certain corporate interests were preventing safer needles being used resulting in many serious infections to health care providers from hepatitis to aids.

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.
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1/10
Not a True Story
nysalesman100-117 December 2011
Truthfully, this movie didn't deserve only one star, it was well made and well acted. In fact, if they didn't promote it as based on a true story then I would have likely given it at least seven stars. However, they did call it true, which is just not the case - this story is simply more Hollywood Hype. As someone who was, and still is, involved in the healthcare industry at the time I can point out the following facts:

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?
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