AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Dallas Buyers Club (2014)

10 Comments

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.

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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.

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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.

4/5

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

10 thoughts on “Dallas Buyers Club (2014)

  1. Completely agree my man. McConaughey’s on an absolute, Texan-tinged tear at the moment and who knew Leto was so damn talented! Curse that beautiful eyed bastard! I’ve written my own mini-review of it as well along with a whole collection of Oscar reviews and general movie coverage and I’d love if you checked it out.

    • I am so pleased that McConaughey and Leto both won the Oscars as I believe they are deserved. But yes, I need to check out some of McConaughey’s recents work, especially Mud. Killer Joe was excellent and really loved his performance in that.
      I knew Leto’s potential, due to Requiem For A Dream and Mr. Nobody! (I recommend both of these) – I shall definitely check that out. Sorry for the delay as I’ve been otherwise occupied!

  2. I agree with you, the performances are what drives the story. They’re brilliant! McConaughey was flawless, bringing the charm while still having the rough exterior, and bringing the vulnerable moments mixed in with the toughness. Great stuff. Nice review and nice blog!

    • Apologies, I thought I had replied to this!
      Yes, McConaughey blew me away in this film. And I agree, the rough exterior is what you get from McConaughey due to his redneck-esque acting ability. But I think the vulnerability on show was key, especially the relationship that matured throughout the film with Leto’s Rayon was something to behold.
      Thanks for reading too!

  3. The performances of the two leads are really great but I find Jennifer Garner unconvincing and the weird ‘relationship’ with McConaughey definitely lets the film down

    • Yeah, I think that’s even more present with the fact they won Oscars for it (Unbelievably pleased about that). I’d disagree saying it lets the film down. I’d just say it feels like it doesn’t belong. It’s a nice inclusion, but I think maybe the inclusion is so Ron Woodroof, with this relationship, makes him feel human again. Like he says in the flick.

      • Yeah I’m pretty sure she is an added character, doesn’t feel like she was created with as much care as the others. It’s a really good film but not sure I would have had it in my top ten of the year like the Academy did. Great blog pal

      • I’m not sure without knowing the full story, but your correct it felt like an added character. Unfortunately I’m not sure on my top ten as I’ve been occupied with studies. Hopefully changing that this year!

      • Matthew M gave such an arc in his performance. Pulling from Ron’s personal journals and holding true to his character. Great film. http://erikconover.com/

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