Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Everyone loves a comeback story, especially Hollywood. A down-and-out actor, often forgotten about by the public, gets a shot at a role that could reignite their career. It’s a story we see every couple of years, but it is usually married to substance abuse or personal problems, much like Mickey Rourke and Robert Downey Jr.

However, in Matthew McConaughey’s case, his fall from grace came after a host of poor film choices. In two years, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Failure to Launch, and Surfer Dude took McConaughey from a man with star quality, to a rom-com typecast B-lister.

Two years went by without the phone ringing, until he starred as the lead in 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, and now it seems like you can’t go to the cinema without seeing his face. The chain of roles he’s received between then and now have both regained his place as an A-list star, and put him on the road to Oscar glory in the form of Dallas Buyers Club.

McConaughey plays Ron Woodruff, an AIDS victim who is given 30 days to live. He attempts to find a way to beat the disease, defying out-dates medical recommendations, and tries to live his life with the death sentence that is his disease.

In a world where 71% of AIDS victims are gay, Woodruff has the added disadvantage of being a homophobe. The quintessential beer-drinking, steak-eating southern macho man, he lives a segregated life having been shunned by his former friends. Seeing a business opportunity in selling unapproved drugs to local Aids sufferers, Woodruff teams up with Rayon (Jared Leto), a cross dresser who attracts the customers.

The pair must deal with detractors in the form of doctors, journalists and the government, as they aim to treat the local AIDS community, while dealing with the disease and its effect of their own lives.

Powerful, moving, and even funny at times, the film shows the harsh reality of dealing with AIDS in America’s deep South during the 80s. A true story that has gained a multitude of awards, and isn’t finished yet as it awaits the result of six Oscar nominations, but the real prize is the springboard that it will give to its main stars.

Leto is poised to make a return to mainstream success, having not acted in over six years previously, while McConaughey has landed the lead in Christopher Nolan’s next project, Interstellar, as well as just about any other project he wants. Continuing his return to form, McConaughey has just completed one of the biggest comebacks Hollywood may ever see.

4.5/5 stars

Jason Brennan

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