Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

When I was watching the Golden Globes a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know much about "Dallas Buyers Club." As the night went on Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey won awards for best supporting actor and best lead actor. After the show, I did a little research into this film and then the next day I watched it. It caught me so off guard, mostly due to the fact I wasn't really expecting this to be as good as it turned out to be. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were apart of a movie that may be the biggest surprise of 2013. 

"Dallas Buyers Club" follows the story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a man living in Dallas, Texas in 1985. He is an electrician and homophobic cowboy, who contracts HIV through unprotected relations and drug use. Ron is given 30 days to live by doctors, due to no real advances to treat HIV yet, but refuses to accept his fate. Once words gets out, he is alienated by his friends and family. Ron is treated by Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) who prescribes AZT, the only FDA approved HIV treatment. As it turns out the treatments aren't working. One day he meets Rayon (Jared Leto), a HIV positive transgender woman. As Ron gets worse, he travels to Mexico to meet with Dr. Vass (Griffin Dunne), who informs him that AZT is essentially poison to the body. Instead, he prescribes ddC and the protein peptide T, and within three months, Rons health has dramatically improved. Wanting to help all he can, he smuggles the natural drugs across the border. Ron enlists Rayon to help him with distribution of the good drugs, and even makes some cash whilst doing so. The Dallas Buyers Club, as it comes to be known, is hounded by the FDA, but this won't stop Ron from getting the word out on treatments that will actually help people.

All I can say is wow. Of course I'll say more, but this film was so good. The massive social commentary  towards gay rights going on right now aside, this is a story of survival. It's a story of tolerance and acceptance. "Dallas Buyers Club" is a movie that follows the life of a man who is forever changed by by what he has gotten. Rough spots galore as Ron (played brilliantly by McConaughey) struggles with the fact he does have HIV. The anger that comes from what he's not used to, being alienated, his homophobia and the fact the FDA is pushing poison. The decision to fight, not only fight for himself, but risking his freedom to bring natural treatments to the forefront. Even if the FDA doesn't approve, or understand or wants to change. We've come a long way since the 80s, both medically and emotionally, and this a movie that shows this so well. The disgusted looks and actions of his friends, when they found out about the HIV. The way the people he worked treated him, along with completely hostile. Ron had to go through things no person, gay or straight, should have to endure. Sure it's hard at times when people don't understand what is going on, but the way Ron persevered onward, was simply played beautifully. Matthew McConaughey embodied the role of Ron so well. Then with the supporting cast of Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, especially Leto, you have a crew that brought this wonderfully written movie to life.

Speaking of the writing, this is one of the better written movies of 2013. Everything feels real and organic almost. As if I'm watching home movies form someone's life. A lot of this has to do with the spectacular job the actors did in this, but usually everything starts with the writing. If you have a bad script, you can have the best cast ever and the movie will still turn out awful. That is not the case with this film. The situations, emotions, dialogue and concept are written so well. It's easy to get sucked into this story, and usually with a biopic, that's hard for me to do. This movie looks good too, it's not just a movie set in the 1980s, it's a movie that really did capture the essence of Dallas. Being a guy that grew up in DFW for 19 years, it was nice to see familiarity in the cinematography. Each scene looks great, and everything down to the costume and set design looks great. The amazing acting that Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey put forth is also what makes this movie so strong. I've never been a fan of McConaughey, but 2013 was been a year here he exploded as a great actor. The movies "Mud", "The Wolf of Wall Street" and this, were all good. Alongside the great role he's begun playing in HBO's "True Detective." This movie is McConaughey at his finest and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. His role as Ron may be the breakout role he's always been looking for. It was a joy to watch him in this. Jared Leto deserves a ton of praise as well as Rayon. It's a performance you can hear about all day, but not quite be ready for. The emotion he brings to a given scene is really what makes what he did so good. These two, combined with everything just seeming right, makes this movie simply beautiful.

"Dallas Buyers Club" is a powerful film about tolerance and the power of change. The story of Ron Woodroof is a vibrant one filled with rocky lows and great highs. Ron is played exceptionally by Matthew McConaughey and supported greatly by Jared Leto. This is a movie that will stick with you long after you're done watching. As I said before, this is one of the biggest surprises of 2013 for me, and it really does deserve all the praise it gets. "Dallas Buyers Club" is well worth anyone and everyone's time.

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