Matthew McConaughey is sure to get an Oscar nomination for his outstanding performance in "The Dallas Buyer's Club". The character Ron Woodruff is a homophobic, borderline alcoholic, drug using womanizer who lives only for the moment and when told back in 1985 that he has AIDS and perhaps only 30 days to live, this part-time electrician and rodeo enthusiast takes treatment for this baffling new disease into his own hands. When doctors won't give him the pills he wants, he just rips the IV drips from his arm and stalks half naked out of the hospital.
When Woodruff finds a doctor in Mexico who puts him on a combination of vitamins and drugs that seem to help, he realizes that not only can he stay alive but he can make a buck. The Dallas Buyers Club is born and in a shabby motel, gay men begin to line up and pay a monthly fee for drugs they hope will save their lives.
It's a great story to tell but the writers, Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack get side-tracked by introducing a practicing physician played well by Jennifer Gardner and a slew of Food and Drug Administrators and bureaucrats who just keep getting in the way. Their story alone could make a good movie, but they spoil the pace of Woodruff's venture and his relationship with a segment of society that he hates but doesn't hesitate to use for his own benefit. There is also a superb performance by Jared Leto as a transgender AIDS patient that Woodruff rebuffs in the hospital, but eventually becomes his business partner.
Not enough can be said about McConaughey's performance. He went on a starvation diet and lost nearly 50 lbs to prepare for the role. That physical transformation coupled with his ability as an actor to get inside this basically unlikeable person and show his weaknesses, is amazing to watch. I just wish director Jean-Marc Valee hadn't tried to tell so many stories when he had such a great one to start with.
Time of film: 117 minutes
Rating: "R" for sex, drug use, hateful language
Filed under: Movie Reviews