Do you remember when Matthew McConaughey lost a billion pounds for a part and won an Oscar for that very part? I know it might be “late” since this happened almost four years ago but Dallas Buyers Club is definitely worth reviewing! For me personally, Dallas Buyers Club is Jared Leto Jared Leto Jared Leto, but hey, I’ll be as objective-ish as possible and look beyond Rayon and her fabulous hair…
Dallas Buyers Club is a true story about the homophobic rodeo bull rider Ron Woodroof who is a cocaine user and has frequent sex with prostitutes. One day, after fainting in his trailer, he is diagnosed with HIV+ (oh no! the disease gays get!) and the doctors tell him that he only has 30 days to live in. Although Ron doesn’t want to accept the fact that he has HIV, after doing some intense research, he realizes that the doctors are right. Furthermore, he learns that there is a doctor in Mexico that uses alternative drugs in the treatment of AIDS. When Ron starts taking these drugs and his health improves, he teams up with Rayon, a transgender woman with the same disease, and creates the Dallas Buyers Club where the members pay a membership fee of $400 per month, which gives them access to the necessary drugs. However, the Food and Drug Administration does not accept this, which leads Ron to be oppressed by the authorities.
Dallas Buyers Club is not the first movie about AIDS but it may be the first one with a truly unlikable protagonist that McConaughey portrays with utter perfection not shying away from the homophobia and cruel manner of speech Woodroof possesses. This is easily McConaughey’s performance of his career because, apart from the drastic weight loss, he conveys different sides of Woodroof with such ease – although he is extremely unlikeable and tough as nails, he can instantly shift gears into his emotional side. I must admit that, despite being very pro-gay, I couldn’t help but chuckle at many of Woodroof’s remarks, as the comic relief aspects come off very naturally. Jennifer Garner as Woodroof’s doctor and friend Eve does a descent job with her performance that shows the conflict her character is battling between her career and doing what’s right. Jared Leto’s portrayal of Rayon is a crucial part of the movie as he brings the heart of the story. Rayon is happy, carefree, funny, but also deeply affected by her disease – something Jared Leto brings to the table flawlessly. And I swear, I’m not wearing my “Thirty-Seconds-to-Mars-For-Life”-glasses. Both Jared and Matthew deserved their respective Oscars for their performances. I’ve heard people say that they got the Oscars for their weight loss but, frankly, I didn’t see Christian Bale win an Oscar for The Machinist or Tom Hanks for Cast Away. So the weight loss is not Oscar worthy – a good overall performance is!
Dallas Buyers Club is a great movie and it delivers a remarkable story without too much excess. It is engaging and consistent with its flawed characters being flawed throughout the whole movie. The story is well-told and and links well from the individual’s story into the bigger picture, but it is a slow paced bio-pic so don’t expect intensity. If you love the genre, you’ll most definitely enjoy this unique story about the redneck cowboy who does everything to beat AIDS. Also, a word of caution for those who don’t like too much sexual content – Dallas Buyers Club contains extensive sex and drug taking scenes – not exactly a family movie (believe me, I know). Although, Dallas Buyers Club is a good movie, it is very obvious that it focuses very heavily on the acting, which is where the movie falls. The story has great elements of political correctness, AIDS awareness and a man’s fight against the government but none of these are utilised as much as they could have been, so I was left with a feeling that much more could have been done. All in all, this Oscar-winning movie deserves 4 out of 5 clapperboards as well as your attention if you haven’t already seen it!