#REVIEW: “DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”
2013 certainly will be a year remembered for its outstanding Male Performances and Dallas Buyer’s Club, the sixth Film from Canadian Director Jean–Marc Vallée, contains two of them. Driven by remarkable performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, even well before Awards Season, the fact-based Drama has solidified itself as a major Contender in a multitude of categories, getting a headstart with at TIFF ’13 Premiere last month.
The Film centers around wild and reckless Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), who is diagnosed with HIV and just 30 days to live. Then seen mostly as a “Gay Disease”, he soon is ostracized by his Friends despite his clear stance about the matter being a Homophobe himself. His condition is worsened by his Drug and Alcohol dependency, while managing to get his hands on a supply of the controversial AZT – then the only legal Drug to treat HIV in the mid-80s. As his supply dwindles and his health fades under the medication, he makes his way to Mexico where he discovers safer alternative treatments.
Quickly seeing the benefits of these non-FDA-approved medications, he ventures around the World to secure/smuggle supplies and together with the help of an unlikely Sidekick in transgendered Rayon (Leto), they set-up a soon-in-demand Club where for $400 per month, HIV patients have an alternative to the potentially-dangerous AZT. The FDA however are watching Ron closely and what ensues is a battle within a battle – he fights for his own life and also he finds himself consumed in a legal war for those who refuse to be treated with AZT. Along the way, he forms an alliance with Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) whom also opposes the efficacy of that medication, sacrificing her name professionally in the name of what she feels is right.
Dallas Buyers Club is one of those Films which remains with you long after you watch it. It is impossible not to be mesmerized by McConaughey‘s charms as we watch him grow spiritually from start to finish, defying the odds miraculously in his terrifyingly emaciated and weakened state. There isn’t a scene where he isn’t commanding presence, always delivering with pure Southern conviction. A completely unrecognizable Leto pours everything into his role as the effervescent and sassy Rayon, bringing light to the overshadowing weight of grimness. Seeing him come to terms with his own mortality is utterly heartbreaking and Leto taps into Rayon‘s vulnerability with grace. Rather quickly, we find ourselves convinced that he is a Woman. Vallée captures perfectly an edgy authenticity of the Era, transporting us completely into the times. In addition to this being a Journey of mixed emotions, the Film poses important questions about the U.S. Health Care System and makes an impactful statement about our own rights in determining our medical treatment.
An absolute Heavy-Hitter and certainly among the year’s finest. Remstar Films releases Dallas Buyers Club on November 1, 2013 in Toronto and Montreal.