Puncture (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 1-Mar-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio-Music from film.
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 99:43
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Adam Kassen
Mark Kassen
Studio
Distributor
Voltage Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Chris Evans
Mark Kassen
Marshall Bell
Brett Cullen
Jesse L. Martin
Vinessa Shaw
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Ryan Ross Smith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Credits over 3:25 of action.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Puncture is a film that tells a story that most definitely deserves to be told. With the original draft written by Paul Danziger, the real-life character played in the film by co-director Mark Kassen, that script was rewritten by Ela Thier. Once the Kassen brothers, Mark and Adam, executive producers of the delightful Bernard and Doris, had agreed to take on the project, Chris Lopata was brought in to do a further rewrite. The result is a forceful, tight script which is given a no-nonsense transfer to the screen in a dramatically strong , basically true, story that enthrals to the very last frame.

     The film opens in 1998 with a dramatically intense sequence involving a hospital emergency, during which ER nurse Vicky (Vinessa Shaw) is accidentally pricked by an aids contaminated needle. The young nurse contracts AIDS, and a pair of hot, young, Houston lawyers is approached to represent her cause. Paul Danziger (Mark Kassen) is one partner, married and fairly conservative, while his partner and long-time friend Mike Weiss (Chris Evans) is a handsome, hedonistic drug addict. The pair inform Vicky that she is already receiving her full legal entitlement, but find that the ailing former nurse is more concerned about the existence of a "Safety Point" syringe, invented by Jeffrey Dancourt (Marshall Bell), which has not been allowed into hospitals due to a massive conspiracy between hospital buyers and purchasing organisations. Weiss and Danziger take up Dancourt's cause in fighting this entrenched pharmaceutical conspiracy, while the pharmaceutical companies in turn enlist heavyweight attorneys. Our two underdog lawyers find their lives and practice stretched to breaking point as they, David like, go to battle with a very formidable Goliath. Other issues raised by this informed and dramatically strong screenplay are the plight of US nurses, with thousands infected annually with diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C through accidental needle sticks, and the re-use of needles in Africa and Asia. This practice directly causes 1.3 million deaths, 23 million hepatitis infections and 260,000 HIV/AIDS infections annually.

     The plethora of facts and figures may make this sound like a heavy-handed, earnestly dull experience. That is far from the truth, mainly due to the strong central performance by Chris Evans (Captain America). The charismatic actor is far from his action hero persona here - though the finely chiselled torso is featured strongly in a number of seedy scenes depicting the reckless lifestyle of the young attorney. Evans gives a solid, sincere performance, with the script stressing the flaws of this basically decent young man. This is a character that stays with you after the film. All other actors are very strong, in particular the dual functioning Mark Kassen and Marshall Bell (The Rum Diary). In a small but key role, there is also a very welcome appearance by Michael Biehn (The Abyss).

     All aspects of this film are very solid. The script, the direction, the widescreen photography by Helge Gerull (Not Since You) and the original music by Ryan Ross Smith, composing for his first feature, all contribute towards the polished, assured presentation of the story. It is this story that will stay with you, along with the outstanding performance from Chris Evans.The performance, and the film, should be seen.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     While not quite brilliant in its image, this is a very fine high-definition transfer. The movie is presented at the ratio of 2.40:1 in a 1080p transfer. The original ratio was 2.39:1.

     Although there is perhaps a little flatness to some of the images, the picture is generally very sharp, with searing close ups of Chris Evans' face revealing every pore. Facial textures throughout are outstanding, as is the detail on clothing, revealing minute creases and flecks. Colours are consistent and accurate, with a vibrancy to outdoor greenery, as in the opening sequence, and a burnished warmth to the courtroom interiors. The various household, and vehicle, interiors are also filled with precise detail. Flesh tones are realistic and consistent, while blacks are deep and solid.

     There are English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which were sampled and found to be excellent. Three different colours are used to differentiate between speakers, and sound effects. Lines are also placed appropriately on the image.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio streams : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Audio Description for the Vision Impaired.

     This is an efficient though not markedly dynamic soundtrack. This is a dialogue driven film, the dialogue being front and centre. Every word is crystal clear and there were no sync problems. Activity from the surrounds is minimal, basically noticeable only when there is the opportunity for ambient sounds. The music is reproduced very nicely, with some emphasis coming from the sub-woofer.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired was sampled and found to be excellent, delivered by the usual youngish, male voice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     They don't come much barer than this disc.

Main Menu

     The menu is presented over a composite still of the front of a court house and a close-up of Chris Evans. The audio is provided by electronic music from the score.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The American Zone A Blu-ray release of Puncture is also devoid of any extras apart from Spanish Subtitles.

Summary

     To say that a film is "based on a true story" has become a meaningless cliché. Puncture is one film that can meaningfully make that claim. Perhaps the excess of truth makes the film a little too earnest at times, but the honesty and sincerity in the writing, production and performance end up creating a movie experience that is quite shattering and memorable. The core of the film is the focussed, honest performance of Chris Evans, who proves himself one of the best of today's young actors. This is a fine, important film that deserves to be seen. A good Blu-ray transfer, with not one extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
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