<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Dallas Roberts, Steve Zahn, Griffin Dunne
He was the romantic comedy hero and sometimes the action hero but Matthew McConaughey has broken into the big leagues with some great performances like this one in Dallas Buyers Club.
Happy and Gay
At a time when being gay isn’t the happiest thing to be what with countries like Uganda and India outlawing the act and still other countries like America debating on whether to allow people to expand religious freedoms to the point of denying doing business with or working with gay people, this film comes to us as a beacon of hope and inspiration.
Dallas Buyers Club is the story of a gaunt Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) a real-life Texas cowboy in the 80s who drank, gambled and had lots of ‘free love’. And then he contracted HIV, which in those days was the ‘gay disease’. At first disbelieving and later panicking, Ron’s life is a mess. He loses more weight (McConaughey lost 38 pounds for the role, which is why he looked so skinny in The Wolf of Wall Street), tries stealing AZT from a hospital that uses it in clinical trials and then runs off to Mexico where an underground clinic comes to his aid.
AIDS isn’t pretty, Ron realises and he also discovers that AZT and the FDAs approval of it is partly a scam for big pharmaceuticals to make lots of money. He knows a better form of therapy and vitamin cocktails that will prolong his life from the 30 days doctors gave him to an astounding 7 years. And he wants to share it with the same people he was prejudiced towards.
Shot in the arm
Dallas Buyers Club is simply the struggle of Ron Woodruff, battling with the FDA and authorities who won’t let him help with his ‘illegal’ drugs. He finds a friend in the transsexual Rayon (Jared Leto, who is also wonderful) who helps him with his Buyers Club: people sign on for a fee like joining a club and get a monthly allowance of meds. He also finds some lovin’ with one of his doctors, Eve Saks played by the lovely Jennifer Garner.
Bold, gritty, in your face and real, Dallas Buyers Club doesn’t try to paint the picture of a martyr or a saint. He’s a businessman doing what he needs to keep himself alive. And sure, he wants to feel alive, and the way he does it is by fighting the system, which he feels is more inclined to see him dead.
This Oscar season, you can bet that Matthew McConaughey will be up there, holding the statuette and making one of his odd and wonderful speeches. This is Dallas Buyers Club.