Coming to theatres this Friday from director Jean-Marc Vallee and Voltage Pictures is a tale based on a true story of the DALLAS BUYERS CLUB.
This film tells the story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), an over-the-top electrician who parties, drinks and does drugs. That is until he collapses finding himself in the hospital. Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) tells him that his is HIV positive and Ron is not about to hear it.
Clearly homophobic that’s all he knows about the disease. Given thirty days to live Ron begins to look into what causes the disease and what can be done to save his life. When he is told that the drug AZT wouldn’t be available to him and that’s the only drug being tested, Ron heads over the boarder.
Meeting a Dr. Vass (Griffith Dunne), Ron begins a regiment that is not available in the United States. Coming across the border with the drugs he makes them available to anyone who wants them – for a price. With the help of Rayon (Jared Leto), a homosexual who is also HIV positive they make connections.
That’s when problems begin as the government led by Richard Barkley (Michael O’Neill) begins to crack down on Ron and his Dallas Buyers Club seizing the medications. After several attempts to go around it all Ron takes his case to court.
Trying to save himself Ron ends up saving more than that!
FINAL WORD: McConaughey as Ron is definitely a character full of himself believing he is ten feet tall and bullet proof. Even after realizing he needed to reach out for help he is always in scammer mode. The Texas drawl that McConaughey is known for is here from start to finish.
Obviously his physical appearance is startling and continues to startle through the entire film but is that enough to say this is his best performance yet? That I’m not quite sold on. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good performance but the outstanding performance goes to someone else.
Garner is fine in this role but there is nothing here that screams ‘wow’. There is something missing with this character, something lacking that would make me care or at least be more interested than I was.
Leto as Rayon took me totally by surprise. I was looking for him in the film and I will admit to doing a double take. This is an outstanding performance because it is nothing that I’ve ever seen from this actor. Granted he is talented but this role screams that he is. There is nothing subtle here as Rayon is a human being guilt ridden, endearing and flawed with a final slap of having HIV. Rayon/Leto had my heart and then gave it a serious squeeze with the father-son scene that left me breathless.
Other cast include: Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Kevin Rankin, Steffie Grote, Jeanine Hill, Jane McNeill, James DuMont and J.D. Evermore.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give DALLAS BUYERS CLUB three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Set in 1986 the setting, sentiment of the time and realistic look is all there. I do wish the characters, other than McConaughey’s, were explored more and given a chance to really push past the craziness of Ron to have a place in the story all their own.
It does move like a southern drawl and has moments of brilliance mixed in with twisted humor. Although funny at times, the laughs come at the expense of truths for patients with HIV during this era. For those who have lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS, as I have, those truths are remembered.
Do I think there will be awards here? Yes. Deserved? Absolutely.
In the end – dare to live!