Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée Written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Release date February 13th 2014
Based on a true story, Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof – a sexually active, drug-taking rodeo cowboy and electrician who wakes up in hospital after a workplace accident, to discover he’s been diagnosed with H.I.V. and given 30 days to live. Ron reacts badly to the news, particularly as he’s a a homophobic heterosexual who believes AIDS is “just for queers”.
Somehow McConaughey turns his performance of this unlikeable fellow into a role that has earned him an Academy Awards nominations for Best Actor.
So too Jared Leto as transvestite Rayon looks certain to take out the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year.
These are two of the bravest on screen performances you could hope to see. Portraying two very brave people, who, in the mid 80s, had virtually no chance of staying alive once diagnosed with the incurable killer virus.
Woodroof takes some time to accept the diagnosis, but learning about the disease at his library he reflects on the unprotected sex with intravenous drug users he’s had and has no choice to but to accept that he has been infected. In spite of being ostracised by his workmates and friends whose homophobia makes him an outcast even though he is straight, Ron refuses to accept his fate and begins seeking treatment immediately. He gets sicker and after being hospitalised he meets Rayon ( Jared Leto) and Dr Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner).
With the only FDA approved drug on the market to treat the disease – AZT – actually making people sicker, Ron embarks on a series of trips which see him travel the world looking for treatment. He exploits loopholes in legislation by procuring medicine, vitamins and proteins, that although not “FDA approved” are not illegal and opens the Dallas Buyers Club in partnership with Rayon who helps deliver him new clients to whom they sell memberships for $400 a month, giving away the medication to their AIDS patient members.
The lengths Ron goes to to prove the doctors wrong and stay alive, while battling the FDA, IRS and DEA show how powerful the human spirit can be when truly tested. Ron wants to live life on his terms, which means bucking the system and dying with his boots on.
This is a truly astonishing film with some unforgettable scenes. I just want to watch it again straight away. It’s success lies in it’s brilliant storytelling of the life and death struggles of it’s engrossing characters.
With McConaughey currently sparring with Woody Harrelson in the HBO series True Detective, films like Wolf of Wall Street and Mud behind him, and a role in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar on the horizon, things can only get better for this talented man. Over the last few years he has worked hard to create a reputation for himself as a truly great actor and we await this years Oscar’s with keen anticipation.
This is a film that should be rewarded just as it rewards it’s audience in so many ways.