Dallas Buyers Club (2014)

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Writers: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto

Rating: ★★★★½

Dallas Buyers Club is possibly one of the most touching films ever made that discus the topic of AIDS, with a powerful excellently-written story and a master-class in acting it makes for a fantastic watch and final end product. Visually appealing as well, it has racked up an impressive six Oscar Nominations and that’s not surprising as I’m sure this film will be regarded as one of the best come the ceremony and end of the year.

Dallas Buyers Club revolves around the life of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a “trash park” hustler and electrician. Addicted to sex, drugs and alcohol his life is anything but serious however it all soon changes when he is diagnosed as being HIV positive. Fighting for his life he is told he has only thirty days to live but Ron’s responds “Let me give y’all a little news flash. There ain’t nothin’ out there can kill fuckin’ Ron Woodroof in 30 days”.  Diving into research about various drugs and trials he eventually discovers a new and illegal form of life-saving medication.  Inventing the “Dallas buyers’ club” he medicates those with AIDS across the country working his way around the system. On his journey not only does his life change but his view of the world and people, meeting extraordinary characters and forming extraordinary bonds, especially with fellow sufferer Rayon (Jared Leto). His fight with AIDS soon becomes a fight with the government, but Ron doesn’t give up on anything.

The story of Ron Woodroof is emotionally powerful, his change of attitude throughout is touching and warming. Writer’s Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack deserve much praise alongside their nomination of best original screenplay. When Ron first gets diagnosed it comes from out the blue after doctors ran blood tests due to a simple work-related injury, in denial the typical “redneck” screams “you calling me a fucking faggot”. However by the end of the film he is no longer a homophobic racist, or ashamed of his disease but a lead campaigner for AIDS working alongside those once called “faggot” sufferers to overthrow the government. The story is much different to other films, as much as it is about AIDS as a killer disease and how it struck 80’s America, it’s about how people first viewed the outburst and how those views and attitudes had to change.

An amazing cast give a somewhat master-class in acting that portrays this story to its full potential and establishes some heart-felt memorable relationships. Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof is surely an award-winner, not only is his portrayal brilliant but the dedication to meet physical requirements is astonishing as he lost 47 pounds. Jared Leto an actor who knows a lot about changing physical condition for the big screen saw history repeat itself  as he lost 30 pounds alongside an amazing performance as Rayon a transsexual with AIDS, who soon becomes a business partner and good friend of Ron’s. The make-up department who have been nominated for an Oscar really does deserve a huge amount of credit for the transformation of the two main characters.

My only criticisms is the underdevelopment of certain characters especially Eve (Jennifer Garner), a doctor who treats both main characters in the film. I personally would have liked to see a more finalised ending instead of a list of facts and dates before the final credits too. Nevertheless Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club is an astonishing film, somewhat brilliant in many aspects this is a release that will win many awards, becoming a huge success for sure. Visually entertaining, remarkable acting and an excellent story make for a great film that is both touching, powerful and pleasant to watch. Dallas Buyers Club is a memorable release that should definitely be a must-see.

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14 comments on “Dallas Buyers Club (2014)

    • I would have liked to see more of a relationship with the doctor that’s all, and seeing him win his final case instead of reading about it would have been better in my opinion, however the final result was still great and it overall was brilliant! Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed 🙂

  1. I agree on the tone your review here – we are on same page that this is a very powerful, visceral film. I also have to agree completely with your criticisms. The ending sort of petered out rather than the emotional bang we might have hoped for Although, this may be in line with my perspective that the film was much closer to real life than to melodrama.

    • Thanks for the comment and agreement, I have to admit this film was powerful and although it wasn’t based on entirely true events you can easily tell it had an element of truth!

  2. Good review Liam. Without McConaughey or Leto, who knows what would have happened to this movie. It’s good regardless, but they make it so, so much better.

    • I do agree, the story is great but it is then added too by the cast! I remember reading how at first gosling was drafted and all sorts! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. Great review man. Definitely agree with your points about Eve – a lot more room for development there. McConaughey and Leto were something else though. Gonna be tight at the Oscars this year.

    • Very close for actors and actresses at the Oscars! 12 Years, Wall Street and Buyers Club will battle for top actor whilst Blue jasmine and Osage County for actress in my opinion! I reckon mcconaughey and Blanchett will win 🙂

  4. Great review man, yeah I can pretty much agree with everything you’ve said here as you’ve brought up a good few points that I forgot to mention in my review. This film was really dramatic and surprisingly heart-warming. I thought McConaughey and Leto were incredible, they committed to their roles so well. McConaughey was really funny and I loved some of his lines especially when we found out he had AIDS and snapped at the doctors. Leto was equally funny, but also very vulnerable and emotional, I really felt for his character.

    By the way have you seen Philadelphia? If you liked this then I think you’d appreciate that one as well, I saw it in collage and was really impressed with how it handled the subject matter of homosexuality and AIDS.

    • I do remember seeing Philadelphia and thinking to myself about re watching when viewing Dallas Buyers Club, so good shout and cheers for the comment man! This film was all about a fantastic story and cast 🙂

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