Dallas Buyers Club review

Jean-Marc Vallee
Matthew McConaughey
Jared Leto
Jennifer Garner
Rated: R

Matthew McConaughey continues his great streak of movies lately with “Dallas Buyers Club.”

In the movie, McConaugey plays Ron Woodroof. An electrician living in Texas in the late 1980s. Woodroof lives a life full of doing drugs, having unprotected sex and not having much of a plan for the future. His world is flipped upside down, though, when he goes to the doctor and discovers he is HIV positive.

As Woodroof begins to come to terms that he does have the illness, he learns that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies don’t allow certain medications into the United States and that an unproven drug is being sold to the masses. Woodroof begins to travel out of the country to get new, better, medication at first to just make money, however, over time he learns it effects an entire community.

The story of “Dallas Buyers Club” works very well because it examines so many subject matters. The movie is a character study, looking at a man who changes his world view, it paints a picture of a situation where a community of people were really living in fear of an unknown illness, and it gives a political commentary on what the relationship is with Government agencies and companies looking to profit.

The multiple layers of the film’s story make it not only endearing, but also very interesting to follow. Watching the journey of Woodroof from beginning to end is heartfelt and his fight to get the out of country meds highlights a real problem.

The flaw I find with “Dallas Buyers Club” is actually with the run-time, though, because I would have liked more to be shown. It’s one of those cases where I would have had no problem if the movie would have gone on over the two hour mark. I think the movie could have benefited by being a bit more in depth.

In terms of acting, the talent really delivers amazing performances. Matthew McConaughey is phenomenal in the film. There’s one moment early on where his character is learning about how HIV can really spread and how dire his situation is, and the emotion shown by McConaughey’s facial expressions alone is incredible. That subtle moment shows just what kind of situation he is in. McConaughey completely becomes the character he is playing and it is masterful.

One of the other major characters in the film, Rayon, played by Jared Leto, is also very well done. Rayon is a transgender who ends up helping Woodroof with the distribution and selling of the medication and becomes a business partner and eventually also becomes a good friend. Leto does a great job working with McConaughey and gives a very emotional performance for the screen.

Also very memorable in the movie is Jennifer Garner, who delivers arguably one of her best performances of her career so far. Despite not being the best performance in the film, Garner still holds her own very well on screen with both McConaughey and Leto.

“Dallas Buyers Club” is a film that really burns on all cylinders. The writing feels rich because of how real and raw it gets in showing the emotion and the time period that it takes place in. This is a very honest film that doesn’t pull punches on what the movie is trying to show.

As previously stated, I would have really liked for the movie to have just a bit more to it in terms of going in depth, I wanted a little more from the movie. That being said, it is still great and worth a watch and some Oscar nods. High 4 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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