*(Minor Spoilers Ahead)
The year is 1985. The place is Dallas, Texas. The story is about life and the harsh reality of how short it can be. Matthew McConaughey stars in the biographical drama, Dallas Buyers Club a story loosely based on Ron Woodroof, an electrician by day, hustler by night straight man that learns he is HIV positive and only has thirty days to live. Woodroof, is a man that struggles to survive and dares to put his “life” on the line to help others dying from the incurable AIDS disease.
The film, as a whole was a bit of a bore. Ron goes to Mexico and smuggles and sells illegal drugs in Texas to help other men that are dying. He is passionate, compassionate and determined to help as many people as he can because doctors aren’t allowed to prescribe drugs that are not FDA approved. Although the characters were brilliant, they weren’t enough to make the story any more entertaining. The film is slow and steady, there isn’t much action and there really isn’t much of a climax.
The acting in the film is great. McConaughey steps up to the plate and proves that he can really commit and immerse himself into a complex role. He lost a significant amount of weight to add to the depth of his character. Throughout the entire film, he is shown going through different stages of his illness. In some scenes he’s almost unrecognizable with the weight loss making him appear drawn and gaunt. One scene in particular sticks out with his work in this film. Shortly after hearing his devastating diagnosis, he’s driving in his car and pulls over into what appears to be a deserted field. He has a gun in his hand, and he just sits there contemplating his life. First the audience is looking from behind his head, and he is just shaking. As the camera travels around to view his face, the audience witnesses him sobbing uncontrollably and moaning. This scene was touching and heart-wrenching and probably part of the reason why McConaughey has gotten a lot of acknowledgement for this film.
Another tremendously committed actor in Dallas Buyers Club was Jared Leto. He portrays Rayon, a glitzy, transgender woman also dying from AIDS. Leto also went through an intense transformation physically for the sake of his role, by losing a shocking thirty pounds from his already slender frame. Leto was apparently in character the entire time he was shooting the film. Some may argue that his character of Rayon was more tragic than McConaughey’s Ron. Rayon is a man trying desperately to be a pretty woman, to find his place in the world, during a time period where people weren’t as comfortable with homosexuals and homosexual behavior. He also is a drug-addict which tends to make him sicker. There is a scene where he has to tell his already ashamed father that he has AIDS, and the pain that Rayon goes through to just ask his father for help is agonizing. Leto exposes this heartbreaking character and illustrates the severe reality of this harrowing, fatal disease.
Director, Jean-Marc Vallée created a unique view into this world of unfortunate characters. He has several nice flashback scenes that give the audience just a mere glimpse of what happened and not actual scenes. Also, in a scene when Ron decides he wants to make money by selling non FDA approved drugs to help other AIDS stricken patients, in an instant there were several quick shots of him filling up his truck with boxes, rather than dragging out the film to showcase him going through the process of gathering the boxes and such. The director had some nice shots throughout the film similar to that, which were pleasing and unique.
Dallas Buyers Club is recommended to people that enjoy great acting, especially by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. It is also recommended to people who might enjoy biographical films that depict one man’s risky mission to save others.
*Due to excessive drug use, sexual content, nudity and foul language this film is not recommended to anyone under 17 years of age.