This was a film that I didn’t have too much knowledge about going in, however from the trailers and the few bits I had read, made this a film I was very interested in seeing.
Dallas Buyers Club tells the (inspired by true events) story of Ron Woodroof, a homophobic, electrician and hustler who contracts HIV and is given 30 days to live. Refusing to just lay down and die, Ron battles against the medical system to get the medication he needs, not only for himself, but also for other AIDs sufferers.
The story is one very much of growth. A complete homophobic, Ron resents being put in the homosexual bracket, as a lot of his fellow sufferers were homosexual men. He is shut out by his “friends” and is very much alone. After being refused the drug AZT (medication for the disease), he begins to obtain the drug illegally, and when the well dries up, ventures over the border to Mexico in seek of medication to save his life. Realising the AZT has been poisoning him, Ron is given proteins and minerals to help him, and then begins to sell these back in America. Ron forms a partnership with Rayon, a transvestite man, in order to sell his substances to the gay community suffering from the same disease as himself. This starts off as pure business, however watching the relationship grow is a great spectacle.
Getting past the films slow-ish start, the story is fascinating. As the FDA react painfully slow to find treatment for HIV/AIDs, it is those suffering from the disease who are on the forefront of the research and self medicating with much greater effects than the FDA approved medical treatment. Fighting against a system of drugs being pushed for the profit of pharmaceutical companies rather than the well being of patients being the focus, Ron sets up a Buyers Club, a membership system that allows the AIDs sufferers to get as many drugs as they need by paying a monthly membership fee. With the help of Rayon, and support of Eve, a doctor unconvinced by the system she works in, Ron works tirelessly, travelling across the world to bring in the help these sufferers desperately need. Where this starts as a selfish money making scheme, Ron grows to become compassionate and begin to care about the other people around him.
The performances in this film, are frankly outstanding, and some of the the best you will see all year. Matthew McConaughey is simply brilliant as Ron Woodroof. He is completely believable in the role, and delivers a performance that is deep, emotional and is one of his best. He has been tipped as the frontrunner for Best Actor at this year’s Oscars, and having now seen the film, I can see why. McConaughey is fast shaking his lack-lustre Hollywood reputation, and is now (more) consistently putting out stellar performances. Jared Leto is on par with McConaughey, as Rayon, Ron’s transvestite business partner, who grows into a close friend. Leto brings a sensitivity to the role, and is a character that you will warm to immediately. Again, is a in with a good chance at the Oscars, for Supporting Actor. I felt that it took Jennifer Garner a little time to settle into the role of Eve, however when she did hit her stride, she was great to watch. Her character is compassionate, sensitive and much like Ron, unwilling to to lay down.
As you might expect, this is a very heavy film, and one that will hit you hard.The story is interesting, and whilst holding an uplifting feel, is a film of tragedy, and one that had me in tears on multiple occasions. This one that I would definitely recommend seeing, and am tipping to pick up a lot of awards in the coming months.
I would like to add a small note to the bottom of this review – apologises for the negativity.
Please can all cinema goers please respect the films and people around you trying to watching. They do not wish to listen to your running commentary and unrelated comments. Please keep these to yourself and wait until you have the left the screen to have your conversations. Sorry to end this review so negatively, but this seems to be happening more frequently in the screenings I have been to recently, and it is something that really knarks me. It is great that people have comments and opinions about the films, heck this is what this blog is all about after all – however there is a time and place, and when this is done over the film, it can affect the enjoyment of others.