Viewed – 13 August 2013 DVD
One of the big movies to come out of the awards season, nabbing itself three academy awards (including best actor). Matthew Mcconaughey plays arrogant, Texan womaniser Ron, who discovers he has HIV following a trip to the hospital. Narrow-minded and in denial, he goes on a journey of self discovery after the docs give him 30 days to live. Soon he realises the drug that is being offered to patients is more harmful than good, and goes about seeking alternatives, that haven’t gone through the approval process. Hence forth he sets up the ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, where for a monthly fee, people can get the necessary medicines, that he brings back from Mexico, Japan etc. Along the way he meets a fellow HIV sufferer and transvestite, who goes into business with him and the two form an unlikely bond.
Firstly this is an incredible physical performance from Mcconaughey, who’s weight loss for the role is nothing short of scary. Adding to his presence is a bold and motor-mouth performance you might expect from him, making an at first unpleasant guy into someone you genuinely care for. Supporting him is Jennifer (the best lips in Hollywood) Garner as a sympathetic doctor, and also Jared Leto, stepping into the limelight from a career of thankless roles. I would have liked more detail on Leto’s character as he was the more likable performance, and the subtle bond between the two leads could have done with that one emotional punch you normally get from such ‘tragic’ dramas … especially towards the end. Garner as a sort of love interest is under-written also. However this remains a showcase for the talent of Mcconaughey and the true shocking lengths an actor can go to to deliver a very convincing portrayal. It’s something to behold, I can tell you. The same should also be said for Leto who delivers a similar physical shock-factor.
The movie sort of glosses over some of the finer details surrounding the illness, with death seemingly left to your imagination. However as a daring and harrowing tale of a still scary virus, and the ignorance of government and hospitals where money seems more important than lives – this one will leaving you thinking for quite a while.
Verdict: 4 /5