Dallas Buyers Club
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Based on: Ron Woodroof’s life
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Griffin Dunne, Kevin Rankin
Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) loves the rodeo, to fuck women and to drink and take drugs. When he’s checked at the hospital after a work accident, Ron is told that he has HIV and about 30 days to live. First, Ron tries to ignore that, then he tries to get his hands on AZT, the new super-aggressive drug in trial for use against HIV. When nothing works, he heads to Mexico to see a doctor there who helps him. And so Ron decides to take back the medication to the US and sell it there. But that’s only the beginning of what is to become a successful Buyers Club.
Dallas Buyers Club picks an interesting and not that well-known part of HIV history and tells a good story with an excellent Matthew McConaughey and a very nice supporting cast.
I never had much respect for Matthew McConaughey as an actor. But recently he’s been putting out one good performance after the other and I have to admit that my failing to see talent on his part might be more to do with his roles than with his acting. In any case, he is pretty damn amazing in Dallas Buyers Club – and that has nothing to do with his weight loss that everybody seems focused on. He outshines the entire rest of the cast.
That includes Jared Leto who gave a rather lackluster performance (I do not understand the award buzz there). Jennifer Garner was good but trapped in a role that didn’t give her much to do apart from being the good woman through which Ron can show his redemption.
The entire movie is grounded through Ron’s character arc. Which was the film’s main focus and beautifully written. (Though it might be more fictionalized than expected since there are articles floating around that Woodroof was actually bi and not homophobic, so his transformation form homophobe to straight ally might not have been that clear-cut.)Since the movie’s focus is so exclusively on Ron, the other characters seem a bit thin compared to that.
But they’re nevertheless relatable and the film was entertaining and engaging, if a little long. I knew little to nothing about Buyers Clubs and therefore that was a fascinating part of the HIV history for me. The movie does a very good job depicting that situation in all its complexity without losing the human element.
Summarizing: worth it.