Ridiculous. Matthew McConaughey was so good in this it was ridiculous. Nobody can do his performance justice with descriptive words on a page. You must see his spindly determination for yourself. After seeing it you’re likely to agree that he is one of the truly great actors working today.
If a gripe were to be had with Dallas Buyers Club, it would be with the story itself. The script was based on a 1992 article in The Dallas Morning News about Ron Woodroof, a homophobic, drug addicted cowboy living with aids in the 80s when it was still thought of as a “gay disease”. The true-life story centers around Ron’s battle with the hospital, it’s doctors, the drug companies they represent and ultimately the FDA. With any story there are always three sides which are yours, theirs and the truth. Had a hard time seeing the truth with this one as the writers and or director had an apparent axe to grind and most of the major players were illustrated in a fairly black and white manner. The doctors were so very bad with the exception of Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) who was such a very good and compassionate doctor. The aids riddled patients were all victims of the system as much as the disease and the evil drug companies were too money hungry, the FDA too thirsty for power to care. Steve Zahn, a personal favorite, plays a sympathetic cop, but this was not enough of a bridge to mask the overt political leaning. It was McConaughey’s ridiculously ballsy performance that prevented these shortcomings from ruining this film. Jared Leto was impressively skinny as well and his drag performance would have dominated the screen and even the movie itself, but was secondary in almost every scene shared with McConaughey.
Perhaps what is most remarkable is that you can still recognize that unmistakable McConaughey DNA as he struts his drug dealing stuff. The great actors have always had this ability to disappear within themselves and in effect become unrecognizable. You forget Daniel Plainview is Daniel Day Lewis almost immediately . Dustin Hoffman is nowhere to be found in Rain Man. Nobody even knows who played John Merrik in The Elephant Man (it was John Hurt). Point is, this unrecognizable factor has always been a sticking point with me, the but not here. You can still see Mud toiling about in the Alabama marsh or Killer Joe forcing Gina Gershon to go down on a drumstick and even David Wooderson hunting jailbait in Dazed and Confused. He can’t escape his McConaugheyness completely, but instead incorporates it into this good ‘ol boy character and somehow it works.
Dallas Buyers Club is less about aids as it is about determination and fortitude. It’s both inspiring and motivational, but it’s the zing that McConaughey brings that puts it over the top.
MUST WATCH (He’s a character that will live in your head for as long as you have one.)
5 0f 5
Must Watch = 5 0f 5 (See it in the theater if possible/buy it or pay for rental.)
Should Watch = 4 of 5 (Worth a theater visit or sending away for)
Could Watch = 3 of 5 (If it’s on a pay channel or streaming for free)
Should Not Watch = 2 of 5 (Only if friends or family insist)
Do Not Watch = 1 of 5 (Don’t allow friends or family to make this mistake)