Puncture is proudly "Based on a True Story." As is so often the case, this means an indifference to "true" human relationships in favor of crusading self-righteousness. In this instance, the cause is life-saving no-stick syringes, which, despite saving lives, are not beloved by Big Pharm. The upstart personal-injury firm of Weiss and Danziger (Chris Evans and co-director Mark Kassen) is approached by Vicky (Vinessa Shaw), a nurse who was infected with AIDS by an accidental needle stick and wants them to get the "Safety Point" syringes invented by her friend Jeffrey (Marshall Bell) into hospitals, an attempt heretofore blocked by a conspiracy between hospital buyers and group purchasing organizations, in violation of the trust act. Puncture focuses on the role of lawyer Mike Weiss in the case, as he has the novelty factor of being a colorful drug addict, tattooed, and gym-buff. After delighting in Weiss' feckless, reckless lifestyle and contrasting it with his prodigious talent in the courtroom, directing duo Adam and Mark Kassen throw in some long, dark-night-of-the-soul material in which Evans' withdrawal shakes and hangdog face fail to convey anything of the addictive personality but succeed in setting him up as a martyr in Puncture's crude, muckraking schemata.
Shaw (at right) as the needle-pricked plaintiff.
Opens at Varsity, Fri., Nov. 4. Rated R. 99 minutes.