It could be said, that Matthew McConaughey is doing the best work in the business at this moment. The man himself has currently featured in many, many films recently and majority have been excellent or so the grapevine says. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to see some of the works, however, I had the pleasure of watching Dallas Buyers Club.
Dallas Buyers Club is the true story about Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a man who learned he was HIV Positive which led him to contract the AIDS virus. He ultimately told he has thirty days to live, which he first refutes, but then begs for the hospitals help. Due to the unwillingness of the hospital to help him, he begin to smuggle drugs from various places to get himself treated, but also helping out people in the community creating the (you guessed it) Dallas Buyers Club.
Naturally there is more to this story, much, much more. Including the development of Woodroof beginning to become an integral part of the AIDS community, which is completely different from the character the film opens with, him indulging himself in sex with two other females whilst watching some ongoing rodeo metres away from him. He also drinks and does drug. I mean, loveable character, right?
It’s fair to say there is nothing likeable about this character we meet. He is a homophobic, cheap, no-good hustler. Although I must admit his attitude of “ain’t nothin’ out there that can kill fuckin’ Ron Woodroof in 30 days” is incredible. After waking up in the hospital again, Ron meets Rayon (Jared Leto – his first appearance in a film for five years) who plays a transvestite, which is remarkable, because honestly, I could not recognise Jared Leto at first. I’ve always admired Jared Leto’s work and this is no different, if not better which explains why the man is up for an academy award.
If you didn’t know, during the 1980s the AIDS virus was very new and very unknown virus during this era, so for Jean Marc-Vallèe to capture what it must have been like for a AIDS victim to go through during this time was, I feel, key to this film. Even Ron falls victim to this as his friends all abandon him and go to extents to not even touch him as they become scared they’ll contract it.
Rayon and Ron eventually strike up a partnership and begin the Dallas Buyers Club, helping AIDS victims and as the film progresses, the character of Ron changes. This partnership with Rayon eventually turns into a friendship that Ron treasures which is evident in the latter stages of the film. But also, the perception of Ron changes, from this cheap hustler, to this man who has found a new life near the end of his own. Which is magnified by one of my favourite scenes from the film, the butterflies in the room.
This film being the biopic it is, is very dialogue-heavy considering the subject matter. However, the performances from McConaughey and Leto are remarkable and it works for the lengthy dialogue that happens during film. Even more remarkable, due to being character with AIDS, Leto and McConaughey both lost a lot of weight to play their roles, which is alway interesting in the extents actors and actresses go through to fit their roles, just like Christian Bale’s The Machinist and Emile Hirsch’s Chris McCandless.
This film is excellent in all honesty, because of the excellent performances from the leads, especially McConaughey, the capturing of a 1985 Dallas landscape including the homophobic nature of people around Ron Woodroof and AIDS sufferers. The sole driving force of this film is the performances from Leto and McConaughey as they keep the film flowing but also intriguing. There are some excellent shots, I thought, but with the nature of the film, it was always going to be the performances that shine throughout.