The trailer of this film in fact didn’t do justice as to how good this film actually was. The trailer showed a lawyer high on drug and using his neighbours as pretend jury in a motel room; I figured it was a comedic courtroom drama, but it wasn’t at all. The A-lister here was Chris Evans(Captain America), who played the main character, Michael Weiss, and the film was based on his short life as lawyer, and addict. He and his partner, Paul (Mark Kassen) was in a David and Goliath fight against corrupted US medical health system, specifically between its purchasing policy and the big Pharma manufacturers. The real case was settled in 2004.
In many highly stressful professions, drugs seem to be the answer to stay high and smart. Michael fell under this category. He was a quick thinker, understood injury law very well, and it seemed a bright future was ahead of him. However, cocaine and prescription drugs brought him down. Unfortunately, there was not enough subtext to tell us why he got to the point of becoming a heavy user. If known, it would have been more helpful to appreciate Weiss more.
The lack of was made up by the consistency of Weiss’s business partner, Paul Danzinger: by the books kind of a lawyer. He was the reasonable one if put the two in contrast. Paul tried to stay afloat with their business, and certainly subscribed to the doctrine of the Middle-Class American: suburban house, stay home wife, baby on its way.
The film starts out with E.R. nurse, Vicky, gets pricked by a needle after administering drug on her client’s arm. The patient agitates, obviously from overdose. Vicky is now off work, and diagnosed with AIDS. Michael and Paul meet with Vicky, and realise that the US Hospital System, under no circumstances, will consider and use a retractable type of syringe that is already available. Despite statistics are pointing at high infection rate of front-line nurses from needle accidents everyday. Since she is taken care of by her insurer and workers’ compensation, there is no injury case. But her hope is that others in her profession will be protected in the future by using the retractable needle.
That leads Michael to the manufacturer of the retractable needle, Safety-Point, owner, Jeffery Dancort(Marshall Bell). Danzinger and Weiss, LLP, becomes his representing law firm. Their first meeting with Goliath is at a high-rise commercial building, the in-house counsels taken up half of the conference table. Michael is high on cocaine and slumbers off in his Jeep after a handjob from her assistant, misses the meeting.
The only regret was that I wasn’t clear what Michael was fighting for?! Michael’s death at the end was open-ended, but the film ended with more or less a confirmation of my cynicism of the entire business system, which is as you know it, a food chain, just like the one in nature: big fish eats small fish. In other words, things are status quote as Nathan Price (Brett Cullen), the BIG lawyer, says,”look at the Tobacco industry, kids are still smoking. It hasn’t stopped.”
The film went on and proposed the high infection rates of AIDS in Africa and South East Asia was probably deal to the lack of clean needles, or old ones being reused in their health system.
WATCH…Kassen, also one of the directors, was the better actor here. The rest were good too.