Dallas Buyers Club (2013): AIDS Biopic, Starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto in Oscar Caliber Performances

Dallas_Buyers_Club_2There are many reasons to see the indie biopic, Dallas Buyers Club, but the main one is Matthew McConaughey’s towering performance.

 

 

With some luck and justice, this role should finally garner him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination.

Playing Woodruf as an imperfect man, a homophobic hetero who fights for survival during the 1980s, a decade of fear, ignorance, and hysteria, McConaughey gives a compelling performance that’s based on complete physical and emotional transformation.

The actor had lost 50 pounds in order to look right for the challenging part. But in McConaughey’s case it’s the dramatic acting which is most impressive. Who could have predicted twenty or even ten years ago that McConaughey, who built a career out of exposing his sexy torso and hunky look, would develop into one of the most diverse and versatile actors working today.

Dallas_Buyers_Club_6As told by the French director Jean-Marc Vallée, the fact-based “Dallas Buyers Club” is the first major American film about a straight man, Ron Woodroof, diagnosed with AIDS. That sounds like a minor merit, but it is not.

Based on an original, multi-nuanced screenplay by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, the tale centers on a uniquely American man, whose transforms his self-interests and subjective condition into something much more collective and meaningful to others of his kind.

Dallas_Buyers_Club_5When first seen, the native Texan Ron Woodroof is an electrician and rodeo cowboy. In 1985, he is living an unexamined existence with hedonistic devil-may-care lifestyle. Suddenly, however, Ron is blindsided and shocked to realize that his diagnosis of H.I.V.-positive means only 30 days to live.

Yet rebellious and defiant in the best tradition of American heroes, Ron will not, and does not, accept his fate, that is death sentence. His crash course of research reveals a lack of approved treatments and medications in the U.S., so Ron crosses the border into Mexico. There, he learns about alternative treatments and begins smuggling them into the U.S., challenging the medical and scientific community including his concerned physician, Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner).

An outsider to the gay community, Ron finds an unlikely ally in fellow AIDS patient Dallas_Buyers_Club_3Rayon (Gotham Independent Film Award winner Jared Leto), a transsexual who shares Ron’s lust for life. Rayon also shares Ron’s entrepreneurial spirit: seeking to avoid government sanctions against selling non-approved medicines and supplements, they establish a “buyers club,” where H.I.V.-positive people pay monthly dues for access to the newly acquired supplies.

Deep in the heart of Texas, Ron’s pioneering underground collective beats loud and strong. With a growing community of friends and clients, Ron fights for dignity, education, and acceptance.

In the years following Ron’s diagnosis, the embattled Lone Star loner lives life to the fullest like never before, transforming himself from a selfish and narrow minded hedonist to an altruistic, more sensitive and human man with broader goals that benefit his immediate community and the broader society at large.