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Dallas Buyers Club – Review


Release Date: 1st February 2014
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writer: Craig Borten - Melisa Wallack
Cast: Matthew McConaughey - Jennifer Garner - Jared Leto - Denis O'Hare - Steve Zahn



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Posted February 4, 2014 by

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Dallas Buyers Club Review:

A late release this side of the pond for the Oscars, its recent success at the Golden Globes has suddenly bought this film to the forefront of public attention. Warm, witty and beautifully touching, Matthew McConaughey delivers an outstanding performance in this brilliant drama that is well worthy of his Oscar nomination

1985 Dallas and binge drinking, cocaine snorting Rodeo rider Ron Woodruff is suddenly told he has HIV. Dismissed as a disease reserved only for homosexuals, Ron denies the claims until he releases he has little time left to live. But the ATZ drug that is being trialled at the time is doing more damage than good, and Ron sets of to Mexico in a search for something that might keep him alive and kicking…

The subject has long been out of the attention of cinema goers, even though the crisis continues. And it seems strange to think that it was only thirty years ago that such strong prejudices existed against the disease. Indeed, before contracted the virus, Ron is homophobic, sexist and a down right awful human being. But being told he only has thirty days left is enough of a wake-up call. It doesn’t happen overnight, and Woodruff never ever compromises who he is. But McConaughey’s performance is phenomenal, adding to the recent plethora of star turns in a wide range of films. Rough and raw, he succeeds in creating every single aspect of Woodruff’s complex personality; one minute, rude and obnoxious; the next, warm and witty; the next, broken and distraught. In essence, he’s a human being.

And being human is what this film is all about; the chance to live, to choose their own lives and, eventually, their own deaths.  Jared Leto, also nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, is also brilliant, warm, charming and impossible to dislike. The two form a tender relationship, thrown together as they are, and it is this relationship that is the heart of the movie.  It’s real, just as likely as they are to insult each other as they are to care.

For some, the film may leave out some of the grittier details of the subject matter. We see little of the true toll of the disease, more implied rather than displayed, but perhaps the film should be seen as more of a character study rather than a story of AIDS. And what a study it is. McConaughey’s Golden Globe is thoroughly deserved… as should be his Oscar.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 20.11.45

Katy Embling
Freelance Contributor


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