Verdict: 3 / 5
Based on a true story, it follows two ambulance-chasing lawyers whose lives and careers change forever when they decide to take on GPOs (group purchasing organisations) who are bribed into buying certain products for hospitals at the risk of the safety of health care professionals.
Chris Evans takes on the role of impassioned attorney Mike Weiss and it is interesting to see him in a dark role after more frivolous fare such as Captain America and What’s Your Number? (although this film did actually come first). He does a remarkable job as the attorney who has lost all-purpose in life except the cause he fights for. There is a tense dynamic created between him and his co-star Mark Kassen who plays his partner and friend, Paul Danziger.
In a constant battle between idealism and realism, this tension is also portrayed in the conflicting needs of the two friends and in what they are trying to achieve. Paul is a family man all too aware of the risks of taking on large conglomerates, while Mike throws caution to the wind both professionally and in his personal battle with drugs. Their differences are further highlighted in the contrasting ways the scenes are shot. As we watch Mike and Paul interview their clients, meet the opposition, visit hospitals and relentlessly work through their case the lighting is harsh and the scenes have a visceral, documentary quality to them; while Mike’s drug trips are murky and dark, veiled in the haze of his addiction. It plays out like Erin Brockovich on drugs, but they do justice to the story and most of all to the characters, never allowing their portrayals to descend into inane archetypes. It is a tense drama of personal and professional struggles punctuated by classic American courtroom scenes, which never veer into the melodramatic. Unveiling corruption and the harm done by large corporates, it similarly reveals the harm we can do to ourselves.
[box_info]Needle-Stick Injury Facts
- Each year, nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers suffer an estimated 800,000 accidental needlestick injuries in U. S. hospitals alone.
- More than 1,000 of them become infected with HIV/AIDS — just like the emergency room nurse in “Puncture” — hepatitis B and C and other deadly blood-borne diseases.
- Worldwide, needle reuse and needle-stick injuries result in an estimated 1,300,000 deaths, 23 million hepatitis infections and 260,000 HIV/AIDS infections annually.
- In November 2000, President Clinton signed the Needle-stick Safety and Prevention Act, which calls for the use of “safety-engineered” needle devices to protect workers. Unfortunately, a decade later, little has changed. The main reason: hospital group purchasing organizations (GPOs).