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Review: Puncture

If you like your films like you like your airport fiction, then Puncture should be right up your alley.

Photo: Tribeca Film Festival

If you like your films like you like your airport fiction, then Puncture should be right up your alley. Since it’s grounded in the narrative details of its info-dump-heavy first two acts, this mostly competent but largely forgettable indie star vehicle for Chris Evans only really becomes noticeably tedious during its third act. At that point, Evans’s character, a personal injury attorney and functional drug addict, is forced to ask himself why he’s been fighting to get disposable, single-use syringes into hospitals. Through superficial declarations of intent, characters in this based-on-a-true-story account reveal just how emotionally barren the film’s busy but unmemorable proceedings really are. Save for characteristically strong performances from Evans, Nathaniel Price as the evil prosecuting lawyer, and Marshall Bell as the rough-around-the-edges inventor of the potentially life-saving new syringe, Puncture is wholly unremarkable.

Screenwriter Chris Lopata and directors Mark and Adam Kassen are so absorbed in dramatizing the story’s narrative episodes that their film is largely bereft of emotional staying power. Understandably, Mike Weiss’s (Evans) unhealthy obsession with getting the medical-supply industry to agree to make Jeffrey Dancort’s (Bell) syringes available to every hospital around the country takes precedence in the film. As a result, Puncture is understandably grounded in the tug of war Weiss and his partner Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) bullheadedly engaged in. But you know you’re deep in shallow-is-as-shallow-does territory when two different characters are made to intone a skimpy mantra like, “Sometimes the brightest light comes from the darkest places,” to make up for thematic, let alone meaty character-driven detail.

Puncture’s story only moves forward thanks to Evans’s charm. But a good lead performance can’t single-handedly save thin material. Evans is a fine young actor, and he capably carries most of the film. Still, Weiss’s tireless motor mouth and propensity for snorting cocaine are his character’s only enlivening traits. Puncture is consequently just a mindless melodrama about a druggie that fought the good fight for reasons that we’ll probably never understand.

Cast: Chris Evans, Michael Biehn, Mark Kassen, Nathaniel Price, Marshall Bell Director: Adam Kassen, Mark Kassen Screenwriter: Chris Lopata Distributor: Millennium Entertainment Running Time: 100 min Rating: NR Year: 2011 Buy: Video

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