Puncture

 

Puncture

Written by Chris Lopata

Original story by Paul Danziger & Ela Thier

Photography by Helge Gerull

Music by Ryan Ross Smith

Music Supervisor: Jim Black

Edited by Chip Smith

Produced by Adam Kassen & Mark Kassen

Directed by Adam Kassen & Mark Kassen

Theatrical Release: September, 2011

 

Rating: R

 

Cast:

Chris Evans

Mark Kassen

Brett Cullen

Marshall Bell

Vinessa Shaw

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Like Minded Pictures & Cherry Sky Films presents

Video: Millennium Entertainment

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size:  BD25

Feature Size: 18.7 GB

Bit Rate: Moderate~High (25-30 Mbps)

Runtime: 99 minutes

Chapters: 11

 

Audio:

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles:

English SDH, French & Spanish

 

Extras

• Trailers

• Digital Copy

 

Presentation:

Amaray Blu-ray Case: BRD x 1

Street Date: January 2, 2012


 

The Movie: 7

Junkie lawyer Michael Weiss fights the good fight against corporate greed. 

 

Did you know that in the 1980s and 90s the leading cause of HIV infections in the U.S. was accidental needle sticks by health care workers?  I didn’t.  800,000 medical workers in 1998 suffered from hypodermic needle accidents resulting in Hepatitis C and HIV. This is just one of the appalling statistics Weiss and his law partner, Paul Danziger, come across as they challenge one of the nation’s largest health care providers of medical equipment.  They allege that said corporation refuses to allow hospitals to purchase syringes from anyone but their clients even though it was widely known that their syringes are unsafe and lead to accidental sticks against which another fail-safe device has been shown to be 100% effective.


   

 

(You can read more about the story behind the story as reported by the SF Chronicle HERE.  Among other things, the article addresses one of the questions that immediately came to my mind as I watched the brothers Kassen’s movie: Why wasn’t there a groundswell at the union level to organize a protest – a strike you would have thought would have done the trick – or legal challenge once the problem came to the attention of the colleagues and families of the victims involved.)

 

From a true story by Paul Danziger and Ela Their, writer Chris Lopata and co-producers/directors Adam and Mark Kassen have fashioned a movie to join the ranks of such David/Goliath films as, A Civil Action, Philadelphia and Erin Brockovich – movies as much about the courage and sufferings of the lawyers involved as the cases that they try to bring to justice.  In this respect Puncture has more in common with A Civil Action since John Travolta’s character is all but ruined in his efforts to bring a successful suit against polluters.


   

 

Weiss is shown to be not merely a crusader for the rights of vulnerable victims, but a man driven to win at all costs – costs to his law practice, which was not his alone to lose and to his clients, since he could not hope to win against his adversary, brilliantly played, I might add, with calculating cool by Brett Cullen (whom you might remember from Lost).  Weiss’s law partner, by the way, is played by brother Mark Kassen, who does a believable job of being oblivious to the fact that his partner was a hard core junkie.

 

Chris Evans proves that he is not just a pretty face with an action hero physique – but we knew that anyhow from the 2004 thriller Cellular, which if you haven’t seen yet, you should - it’s great fun as well a suspenseful action flic.  Evans’ idea of Mike Weiss is justly complicated and he makes no bones that our protagonist is one messed up guy, despite any good intentions.


   

 

The movie’s legal maneuvers, as with all such dramatizations, takes short cuts and plays fast and loose with proper procedures - as when Weiss questions a defendant asking him to testify against himself in the face of not a single objection by the defendant’s attorney. Worse yet, the defendant admits fault in a moment that would have made Perry Mason blush.  That said, the issues raised and the actions taken by the corporation represented by Cullen’s character to harass and stymie the plaintiff and anyone that would have supported him, are entirely with precedent and painful to watch. While generally good writing prevails there is one line – "Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places" – that thinks so much of itself it is repeated – in close-up, no less.  I thought it brought a juvenile pulp psychology into an otherwise thoughtful and provocative script.


   

 

Image: 6/8

For whatever reason, the image quality for Puncture is remarkably unremarkable.  It strikes me as thin and not especially tightly resolved.  This is not to say it’s foggy or lacking in sufficient sharpness, just not what we come to high-definition for. I’ve seen as good from a good DVD. 


Two comments about the image, as shot: I found the idea of shooting this movie in 2.40:1 a bit much.  Not that there isn’t sensible use of the frame evident, but the subject matter doesn’t seem to me call for it.  In a similar vein, I thought the scenes in plaintiff’s lawyer’s conference room unnecessarily blue.  At first I thought there was something amiss with the transfer, but came to believe it was just a case of overreaching by the filmmakers.


   

 

Audio & Music: 8/9

Before I forget, I want to give special mention to Music Supervisor Jim Black whose choices for the music not composed specifically for the film is always supportive and right on target.  Just as important is the task of sound mixer Eric |Milano who keeps the music in proper balance to the action.  This is a film that is properly short on swells and crashes – much appreciated for a change.

 

Millennium offers two mixes for the feature film: the default in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and a stereo Dolby Digital.  While I suspect that the original may have been stereo only, I must admit that the lossless surround does work better, adding just a touch more ambiance and some detail.  Still, the action is pretty much front-directed, as it should be.


   

 

Extras: 1

Besides a digital copy disc, there is nothing here but a handful of trailers – and not one for the feature film.  Quel bizarre!

 

Recommendation: 7

I found that the brothers Kassens tell their story responsibly and engagingly.  I’m not as convinced that it benefits to any great degree in high definition.  On the other hand, the difference in retail price is a mere dollar, making the question entirely moot.  Missing from either manifestation are bonus features that such a film cries out for – anything at all that might document the facts would have been appreciated.  Worth watching, for sure.  I would advise renting first.


   

 


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

December 25, 2011



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