January 12, 2012

Blu-ray Review: Puncture (2011)

When I first heard of Puncture, that is all I knew, the title. With that little bit of knowledge I assumed it was going to be some manner of horror movie. Seriously, doesn't that word evoke perhaps a bit of Saw imagery or perhaps something related to vampires, like The Addiction? Perhaps it is just me and an underlying desire to see horror everywhere. In reality, Puncture has absolutely nothing to do with horror, at least what we normally identify with cinematic horror, and everything to do with lawyer drama involving safety needles for hospital use. Yes, that sounds much more exciting.

In all seriousness, Puncture is half of a good movie. The plot is halfway interesting and we get a solid lead performance. The problem is that while it is half good, I also found it to be half bad. The thing of it is, is the movie tends to be a bit exposition heavy and does not allow the support to distinguish itself beyond being plot points. It is could be likened to walking down a steep incline, you keep going and going and can't stop, ultimately stumbling and falling down as you approach the finish. Still, there is enough substance to recommend.

Based on a true story, Puncture is the story of two lawyers, Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) and Paul Danziger (co-director Mark Kassen), who take on the case of a nurse, who contracted AIDS from an accidental needle stick, and an engineer who invented a safety needle. The goal of the case is to somehow force hospitals to purchase the item. The problem is that there are contracts and deals in place that only allow the medical establishment to work with certain suppliers and no one wants to even look at the data in favor of the safety needle. Of course, there is also the internal strife between Mike and Paul, as they are a small firm with little money and fewer resources to pursue the ever growing case. Paul wants them to drop it, Mike refuses.

Oh yes, there is something else to the story that helps push it forward a little bit and make you wonder about Mike's underlying interest in the needles. Mike, it turns out, is a drug addict. He is a heavy user and a functioning one, more or less. The movie follows him, primarily, as he works the case, getting more and more wrapped up in it, while also indulging his addiction in a variety of fashions.

The real case this is based on is a noble one and one that clearly sees them in the right. The problems with the become compounded because of this and the treatment of the drug addiction. With the lawyers so clearly in the right, the opposition feels overly simplified with many details just never explored. On top of that, we do not really see, definitively, the destructive effect the drugs are having on Weiss. It is a movie of good and bad and suffers from any shades of grey.

Still, Puncture is a slickly produced film that is easily watchable. The "Based on true story" tag helps with getting us into the story initially and bypassing the need for certain developmental elements, allowing us t get behind the protagonists a bit quicker. However, no matter how watchable and enjoyable it may be, it is not one that really digs into the subject or welcomes repeat viewings.

Chris Evans does give a compelling performance. Evans is really becoming a pretty good actor, not necessarily great, but better than I used to be willing to give him credit for. In Puncture, he creates an interesting persona that we want to see play out. It is solid work. Among the supporting cast, Marshall Bell turns in the most memorable performance as the inventor of the safety needle.

Audio/Video. The movie is presented in a ratio of 2.35:1 and is generally solid. There s a good level of detail and color representation is solid. The movie does not have anything in the way of explosions to show it off, so it has to settle on giving us a compelling color palette and solid detail levels. I did not detect any compression issues and the movie looks good across the board in both day and night sequences. I cannot say there are any standout scenes, but this isn't that type of movie.

Audio is presented in a 5.1 Dolby True-HD track that is solid, modestly dynamic, and does its job well. It is workmanlike in the crisp presentation of dialogue and score with slight touches of ambiance. Again, this is not an action movie and does not have anywhere to go to truly differentiate itself. This leaves the track to do what it needs to do, make sure we can hear the dialogue in a clear and realistic fashion, which it does.

Extras. Nothing is included, except for a few trailers, including one for Puncture. The back of the case states "Bonus Material" under Special Features, but I could not locate anything.

Bottomline. Good, if insubstantial film. It is worth it to see what the case is about, nice that it is not just another murder case, and also for Chris Evans performance.

Mildly Recommended.

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Puncture (2011) on Blogcritics.

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