When this movie was released in 2013, Matthew McConaughey had just started to steer his career in a different direction. The year before he captured the attention of the audience in Mud. Until then, he had mostly starred in bad to horrible love comedies. With Mud, he initiated his image change. Since then he has appeared in productions such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Interstellar and True Detective. McConaughey’s performance is also the centerpiece in and the biggest argument for Dallas Buyers Club. Based on a real person, he embodies Ron Woodroof, a daredevil electrician in Texas in the 1980s. Ron loves rodeo riding, women, alcohol, cocaine and is strongly homophobic (at least in the movie). After an accident at work, he is diagnosed with HIV at the hospital. Accordingly, Ron’s life changes abruptly. He is confronted with the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) profit-seeking approach and tries to fight it by founding the “Dallas Buyers Club”, where he distributes unauthorized drugs to members. The film manages to capture the situation of the time, the people’s lack of knowledge, the belief that AIDS is synonymous with homosexuality, the fear of contact with the disease and resulting from this with the victims. However, the film remains with Woodroof throughout, looking at the events from his perspective and following his development. All other characters and groups (homosexuals, other people affected by AIDS, conservatives) are mainly used as tools for change in Woodroof. Even the two main secondary characters, Rajon (Jared Leto) and Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner), are one-dimensional figures. Saks in particular is basically irrelevant to the course of the film. Jared Leto’s portrayal of the excited, transsexual junky is nevertheless outstanding. Both Leto and McConaughey have lost more than 20 kg for this film and sometimes appear frighteningly thin. Dallas Buyers Club is the first film since Mystic River in 2004 to win the Oscar for Best Lead Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Both are absolutely worthy candidates.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Runtime: 117 min.
Release Date: 2013/09/07 (at Toronto)
Screenplay: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Editor: Martin Pensa, Jean-Marc Vallée (as John Mac McMurphy)
Cinematography: Yves Bélanger