Puncture – 4 out of 5
Puncture is based on a true story which, when you hear that phrase, should automatically scream that the film has taken major liberties with the actual story (like how Erin Brockovich didn’t focus on how Brockovich was just as evil as the people she battled—because she totally was) or the film is just plain bullshit—like every horror film that claims it is based on a true story. However, this is usually forgiven when the story is good and that let’s us allow Hollywood to blow smoke up our asses...essentially; the story is giving us the reach around.
|With a last name like Danzinger a career in the legal system|
should have been the last option to come upon.
|"I also make umbrella hats!"|
|"This is a needle..."|
"Yes, I know that."
I first saw the trailer for this film without knowing it had some basis in reality and I thought the idea of Captain America playing a party animal/drug addicted but obsessively competitive and compassionate lawyer to be fodder for an interesting film. And it was pretty damn good.
|"Where's my shield? I'm going to kick some litigious ass!"|
The story is just plain intriguing and easily engaging—which, of course, sounds like bullshit buzzwords pretentious critics like to throw into their reviews so it sounds smarter than just saying, “That was fucking awesome!” However, I really mean it when I say that the film was interesting to watch, compelling to see the inherit contradiction of a drug addict lawyer fighting over the morality of a heartless company that seemingly doesn’t care for the safety of the people who work with their products and the story was quick to suck you in and stay with it as the events unfold.
|Here's an awful game to play while watching this: Shoot up every time you see a needle.|
The strongest dealing (a weak attempt at a drug-based pun there) this film injects into our viewer veins (there, that one was better) is The Human Torches’ performance. Chris Evans has come a long way from when I first saw him in Not Another Teen Movie and has shown in recent years that he’s more than just a cocky typecast performer and has the chops to be quite amazing—which he shows quite epically in this film.
|Suspenders also work very well for him.|
However, the strong performances of the film don’t stop with Evans as he is surrounded by actors with more than capable talents. Most notably is Brett Cullen as the “evil” lawyer who is out to protect the interests of the company making the unsafe needles and Michael Biehn being the corporate whistle-blower—and later he becomes John Connor’s father…this man is all about creating a safe and healthy future. I also can’t forget to mention Marshall Bell (who will always be that panicky General in Starship Troopers to me) really delivering as the mentally exhausted and exasperated head of the safe needle company as he tries to insert his merchandise into an industry that seems like it wants to make sure their product is needlessly sticking nurses in the fingers.
|"It was awful. The one with Sam Worthington, I mean. The future with killer robots was|
tolerable compared to that one."
One other thing I enjoyed about the film is the restraint it showed when it dealt with Big Needle. It could have been very easy to demonize the industry and, if Michael Bay shot the film, to illustrate that the company is evil there probably would have been a sequence where Weiss discovers a secret file that showed a needle that was made entire of needles sticking out in all directions and all the needles came equipped with AIDS just to make sure all who handle it will die horribly but the film decided to show all the company’s dealing with their team of lawyers. Granted, Big Needle still looks horrible but they look horrible for realistic and real reasons and making them the villains didn’t come off as desperate and cartoonish—which, sadly, could have easily happened if they included the scene where Big Needle tied the nurse with AIDS to some train tracks before laughing maniacally and twisting their mustaches.
|"Bwaa-haa-haa--oops, I'm sorry, that just slipped out."|
Puncture tells a great story and is filled with powerful performances that stop short of being too preachy and annoying (basically, its drama is grounded) along with Evans really proving that he’s developing as an actor (and that he can rock a great beard). The movie isn’t your typical courtroom showdown that has become commonplace in movies and TV and that, in and of itself is a good thing. It doesn’t have the cheesy emotional closing statement or the last minute bit of evidence that ends up wining the case. Instead, the film plays off realistically…and that makes me wonder how much was really embellished and how much was spot on to the true story.