Thought-provoking 'Puncture' documentarylike
"Puncture," directed by Adam and Mark Kassen and starring the latter, Chris Evans and Vinessa Shaw, is a legal drama based on a true story about hospital ethics and HIV. Almost too intriguing, it might have made a better documentary, but it leaves you thinking, says Seattle Times movie reviewer Moira Macdonald. The film is playing at the Varsity, in Seattle.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Puncture,' with Chris Evans, Mark Kassen, Brett Cullen, Marshall Bell, Vinessa Shaw, Kate Burton. Directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen, from a screenplay by Chris Lopata. 99 minutes. Rated R for drug use, language, some nudity and a sexual reference. Varsity.
A well-made drama about a pair of young attorneys and a potentially explosive case, "Puncture" has the unusual problem of being almost too intriguing; its based-on-true-events story seems to cry out for documentary treatment. Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) and Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) run a small law practice in Houston in the late '90s, making a living on personal-injury cases. They meet an ER nurse (Vinessa Shaw) who contracted HIV from an accidental needle prick on the job and wants them to help her fight hospital resistance to a newly invented safety needle. Mike is intrigued, Paul is reluctant, and soon the two are swept into a case that's far more wide-reaching, and more dangerous, than it initially seemed.
Directed by the sibling duo of Adam and Mark Kassen (the real-life Danziger is an executive producer), the film moves swiftly and efficiently through its story — always diverting and often thoughtful, particularly in Evans' charismatic performance. But the writing sometimes feels generic, with each character a type: Mike is an irresponsible drug user; Paul a straight-arrow family man; Vicky the nurse, a dying saint. The movie's endnotes leave us wanting to know much more about this fascinating real-life case — which reveals, yet again, the sorry state of health-care finances in this country — and its aftermath. You wonder if a documentary might have been more powerful than this film; but then again, "Puncture" leaves its audience thinking, and that's more than a lot of movies can do.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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