Monday, November 11, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club - Review

Dallas Buyers Club – Review

Taking place in 1985 the “Dallas Buyers Club” stars Matthew McConaughey. Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.  The initial story is of a Dallas Texan Ronald Woodruff; a blue collar, perpetual drinking, perpetual smoking, perpetual partying, a perpetual drug abusing, a perpetual sexually promiscuous and a perpetual ‘I don’t give a you know what” modern day Cowboy. To sum up Ron, as his friends call him, he looks at life as if it was his own private working class wheel to be turned whatever way he wants as long as it is turning in his favor on that day, on that moment.

Constantly coughing and terribly gaunt in his appearance one day Ron passes out and is taken to the hospital where he is revived. To his disbelief Ron is informed by Doctors that he has AIDS and is told he has probably less than 30 days left to live. Out raged by the news largely by his own ignorance that his illness was some implication he had to be gay to contract it, Ron storms out to continue to live his life as if it was a mistaken test result. But it isn’t very long after Ron confides in his supposedly very close male friends that he learns he may be actually mistaken about his diagnosis as he losses his job and his friends who quickly turn on him not un-similar to the virus itself. It is from this sudden revelation of bigotry that he takes a dramatic turn into accepting his sickness as being real but also with the idea he will do any and everything to fight it with his very last breath.

Given the backdrop of 1985 where the ignorance of this disease and its treatment was at a zenith in the USA as a Gay illness, the Dallas Buyers Club” as a film takes us on a well told journey that while was well directed seemed at times in parts a history lesson, thus falling a tad short on its ability to enlist strong emotional empathy for the principle characters. But what really makes the film pop, splendid to watch and its core strength was the incredible domineering performance by Matthew McConaughey who for two hours carries the plight of being both a somewhat local celebrity of the ravages of this sickness as well as a national stalwart advocate for new and better treatment.

McConaughey is certain to garner an Oscar nomination as Best Actor. Barely recognizable other than that subtle Texan turn in his voice, the film is 90% about McConaughey’s character Ron in his effort to take proven illegal drugs that seem to help people live while the FDA fights against his efforts at every turn. But what was an even greater revelation of acting prowess for me was how incredible Jared Leto was as the transgender prostitute who befriends Ron in their mutually shared medical condition.

Leto to me at times steals scenes when he as the character named Rayon and Ron are on screen interacting together. If McConaughey is called in late January 2014 as a nominee for his work here than it would be an injustice of the highest order if Leto doesn’t garner a nomination as well as Best Supporting actor.

Dallas Buyers Club is a solid 4 star effort film just not a great one, probably do to what looked and felt like dated material from a time where the medical and social ignorance about AIDS seemed silly and foreign to me by today’s standards. Still, Hollywood loves films like this of the anti hero type and it would not surprise me at all if this film is nominated for the coveted and rare10 Best Pictures for 2013

4 Stars      

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