Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Release date: November 1, 2013 (limited)
Running time: 117 minutes
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O'Hare, Kevin Rankin
Who to see it with: Fans of McConaughey's recent dramatic roles


In Dallas Buyers Club, homophobic, hard-partying cowboy Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) is shocked upon receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis in 1986, a time when the virus was nearly universally associated with homosexual men. Told he has very little time left, Woodroof's research into alternative treatments reveals a lucrative business opportunity of questionable legality, an opportunity that brings him closer to sassy transsexual patient Rayon (Leto) and a concerned doctor (Garner)McConaughey and Leto transformed themselves for their roles. McConaughey dropped over thirty pounds to attain his frail look. Typically lean Leto became even leaner and convincingly employs feminine mannerisms as in his cross dressing role.

McConaughey makes Woodroof into a fairly charming asshole who believably changes without abandoning the core of his personality. He doesn't suddenly become a saint, but he gains sympathy as his prejudice softens. He cleverly uses his stubbornness and slick charms when his business attracts attention from the FDA. Woodroof and Rayon's witty personalities and banter provide more laughs than you'd expect from an AIDS drama, often hiding their sadness outside of their most defeated moments. The FDA conflict is used to criticize the limitations and business side of the pharmaceutical industry, but does so without fully endorsing Woodroof's potentially dangerous denouncement of conventional doctor wisdom. Matthew McConaughey's brash but sympathetic performance and Jared Leto's troubled sidekick are the highlights of Dallas Buyers Club.

Rent it.

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