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Puncture (2011)

March 26, 2012

MY CALL:  I enjoyed this movie and was impressed by Chris Evans, who managed to deliver “strung out and tweaky” simultaneously with the clever charm we expect from him.  It’s no Rainmaker (1997), but it’s worth a watch if you like Evans’ work. [B/B-]  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCHThe Rainmaker (1997) and Runaway Jury (2003) demonstrate two different approaches to little guy-huge case legal-themed moves.  And if you like Evans in somewhat darker roles, go for Push (2009).  For a great tweaker-film, go with The Salton Sea (2002).

Evans holding a mock trial tweaked out, with no shirt, wearing an untied tie and suspenders.

In Puncture Chris Evans plays a charismatic drug addict (Mike Weiss) who is an even faster talker as a lawyer than he was on his high school debate team.  Evans charms us in the opening scene as he invites fellow drug addict strangers to stand in for his drug-induced mock trials where he rehearses cross examinations for the next day in court.  You root for this chemically-dependant smooth talker from square one.

Evans’ wardrobe is interesting in this flick. Lots of orangish tones, suspenders and some stylish sunglasses.

A little background:  The title has well-placed meaning in this story which was based on true events.  Our two protagonists take a case for a nurse who was accidently stuck by a syringe after it left the violently flailing arm of an HIV-positive patient (who was overdosing on some drug in when he arrived at the hospital).  After the subsequent development of the safety syringe called “Safety Point”—a medical development that would make such accidents nearly impossible—no hospitals were willing to purchase the product.  Hospital employees are concerned about such accidents, which occur to the tune of 800,000 times a year in the USA and are the lead cause of HIV, hepatitis-B and hepatitis-C in health care workers.  These accidents are called “needlesticks” and have fueled the AIDS-epidemic in Africa as a result of needle re-use.

Weiss and his straight-laced partner (Paul Danziger, played by Mark Kassen) have an entertaining relationship and ambulance-chasing personal injury business complete with TV ads.  Weiss barters “focused” days doing his job in exchange for Danziger following up on case work in his own unique style.

Evans with the kind of outfit that a judge would likely find threatening.  Also the kind of outfit that a Yugoslavian pimp would find preferable.

At the dawn of his David and Goliath case Weiss maintains his ill-suited form indulging in cocaine “bumps” and handjobs from his fellow druggie-turned-office assistant…then falls asleep in the car during a critical deposition which, of course, he’ll join late after nursing a bloody nose.

The movie did not affect me emotionally.  It felt largely like the telling of an important story accompanied by a great Chris Evans performance.  My biggest criticism is that Evans—while made up to look pale, hungover, and baggy eyed throughout the movie—is in WAY too good shape for me to buy his drug-fueled self-abuse.  Had the real life Weiss ever been in such good shape, I have difficulty understanding how his body wouldn’t be noticeably withered after even one month of such malnourished, under-rested, toxic behavior.

This criticism aside, I enjoyed the movie and was impressed by Evans, who managed to deliver “strung out and tweaky” simultaneously with the clever charm we expect from him.  He reminds me of Val Kilmer from The Salton Sea (2002; great movie, by the way).

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 26, 2012 12:13 pm

    Horatio Caine called…he wants his sunglasses back.

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