Thursday, November 14, 2013
Movie review: Dallas Buyers Club informs instead of entertains
The movie itself plays out like a dramatic documentary. No pizzazz, no Hollywood shine here.
Dallas Buyers Club is about the true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a young man living in Dallas in 1985 who loved women and the rodeo. However, his free-spirited lifestyle came at a cost, as he was told by doctors that he contracted HIV and was in full-blown AIDS at the time of his diagnosis. Rather than roll over and die when he was told he only had 30 days to live, he decided to research this disease and find out what medication was out there to help people with AIDS. What he found was disturbing, and he decided to travel south of the border to seek out medical treatment. He decided that if the FDA couldn’t allow certain people the ability to obtain anti-viral medication, than he would do it himself.
He established a “club” where AIDS patients could “join” and receive all the “free” medication they needed to help treat their disease. He did this for many years until the FDA took notice and came after him by storm, but little did they know, Ron was ready, having lived six years longer than originally told.
RATING7/10 stars – The acting and portrayal of Ron is why you want to see this. The story plays out like a documentary.
From what I’ve read and seen online, and even quotes from his family, the portrayal of Ron by McConaughey is spot on. From his weak and fragile body to his sickly, deteriorating face, he gives a performance that I’ve never seen from him. Jared Leto plays Ron’s best friend Rayon and also gives a stunning performance. I didn’t even recognize him!
As far as the story is concerned, this is a cut and dry true tale that tells it like it is. It isn’t flashy. It isn’t that suspenseful. It just shows what Ron did for the AIDS community and the awareness he created back in the late '80s and early '90s. For non-medical people, some of the names might go right over your head and confuse you, but I think this is an interesting watch for people who know enough about AIDS and the disease processes.
It's well made and educational, but it is dry and many people looking for “entertainment” will be bored. I hope this earns McConaughey and Leto many award nominations, but for me, this movie only needs one viewing, as it didn’t impact me as much as I thought it would. Maybe it was too educational and not enough charm for me to invest my time with Ron.
It also stars Jennifer Garner, Dallas Roberts, Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne.
From sex on a pole (Magic Mike) to dealing with a sexually transmitted disease, McConaughey is disturbingly good in Dallas Buyers Club. There are actors in Hollywood who will do anything for their roles. They learn foreign languages, eat strange foods, gain and lose weight. McConaughey took this style of method acting the extreme for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. ”He looks the part,” never rang more true than it does in this instance. McConaughey's body is grotesque and hard to look at, but it gets the point across. His performance lives up to and in my opinion exceeds his impressive performance in Mud, which came out earlier in 2013. I agree with my counterpart that Leto gives a surprisingly good performance. Garner however, disappoints. I have seen her do better.
RATING7/10 stars – An enjoyable way to learn a bit about Dallas history and the history of the struggle to fight AIDS.
The movie itself does play out like a dramatic documentary. No pizzazz, no Hollywood shine here. It’s a simple straight forward story meant to shine light on where we were as a society in respect to this horrible disease. Perhaps it is also about making you take a second look at where we stand today. You can be the judge there. I did expect a bit more emotional drama, but I wasn’t really disappointed that it wasn’t there. I think it wouldn’t have fit.
There isn’t anything "wrong" with Dallas Buyers Club as a movie. There is something different about it that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s almost a new genre of film since it doesn’t really fit into any one category. Now while it may not provide you with the expected type of movie going entertainment it is worth seeing for two reasons. Reason No. 1: A performance like the one McCongaughey gives deserves to be honored with decent box office numbers. Reason No. 2: We could all use a little more education about the things people in the world are dealing with and the struggles they have had and still have to go through. We often become immune to the various issues like AIDS awareness, and I think Dallas Buyers Club has the ability to shake you awake and make people pay attention, even if for the briefest of moments.
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