Victoria Jelinek

The Dallas Buyers Club

dallas-buyers-club-2013-03The true story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a promiscuous straight man who finds out he’s HIV positive in Texas of 1985. When doctors tell him he has days to live, he turns to black market medicine and becomes an unlikely hero.

Woodroof is Texas trailer-trash, working as an oil company electrician and screwing former rodeo glories while off his head on booze and lousy coke. He doesn’t pay attention to his declining health till a work accident lands him in the hospital. Woodroof initially refuses his diagnosis, and then he defies it. Abandoned by his redneck friends and fired from his job, Woodroof does not despair and, instead, hazards into Mexico for unsanctioned drugs and alternative treatments in an effort to stall the disease. We discover that Woodroof possesses a nimble mind, as he realizes an opportunity for a swift buck and quickly deciphers baffling medical science and pierces through hospital bureaucracy and governmental bluster. He creates the club of the title, a shrewd legal dodge in which desperate sufferers of AIDS don’t buy illegal medicine, but pay a monthly membership fee in which drugs are a perk. To navigate the marketplace, Woodroof gains an unlikely guide in the form of transsexual Rayon (Jared Leto), another AIDS victim refusing to be victimized.

But this isn’t a hackneyed Hollywood offering about a journey of self-discovery. Nor is it a vulgar sentimental film. Woodruff does not become a different person – he remains a scheming asshole and lowlife, and it’s his offensive personality that gives him the elixir for survival. Matthew McConaughey’s latest film is yet another indication that he has left fake tans, bulging biceps, and silly flicks, and is actually an exciting and talented actor, as evidenced in his most recent films, such as Mud, Magic Mike, Killer Joe, and The Lincoln Lawyer. McConaughey has turned the victim narrative on its head with a completely convincing portrayal of a hostile, but unbreakable spirit. This is a truly remarkable film with an independent spirit, full of characters that are both romantic and fallible.

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