Matthew McConaughey, the quintessential Texas bad-boy, has been burning up the screen lately, sometimes noteworthy, other times not. But his performance Dallas Buyers Club, is one you will not want to miss.
As Woodruff, a straight Dallas redneck, rodeo guy who in 1985 turns up HIV positive, McConaughey shines. From disbelief and rejection of his initial diagnosis, to frustration with the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies in acquiring a treatment that won’t kill him, to anger and maligned acceptance when he is cast out from his circle of buddies, McConaughey is very convincing.
The story is about how he circumvents and combats the establishment by seeking out and selling non-standard HIV treatments for himself and others, setting himself up as a unlikely hero for an unlikely set of admirers. With the help of Rayon, a cross-dressing gay man, played beautifully by an unrecognizable Jared Leto, they establish the mechanism to distribute these much needed alternatives – The Dallas Buyers Club.
The story itself is compelling in the sense that one man actually took on the police, the DEA, the FDA and the medical profession to positive effect for himself and others. Beyond that, the story is also compelling for the friendship that unexpectedly develops between Woodruff and Rayon.
Cinematography makes sure you feel the emotions coursing through this film by making it as personal as possible. Directing makes sure the film is taken seriously; it is not looking for gratuitous tears nor a pat on the head.
My favourite line is the blog post title, a line Woodruff uses every time he meets someone with a kick-ass attitude. McConaughey’s native-Texas accent and delivery make it memorable.
Dallas Buyers Club is a great film but 12 Years A Slave still reigns as my 2013 favourite. I suspect McConaughey and Leto will both be Oscar nominated.