Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Reviewed on 2014 February 17
I have a co-worker I now owe a solid. I almost bypassed this, until he pointed out to me that it was excellent, though sad. He was right on both counts. It’s painful all right, but it’s one of the best things I’ve seen.
This is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas rodeo hellcat and electrician who’s idea of a sedate weekend is only bringing home one groupie. This was in the ’80s, before we knew much about HIV. Ron (played to the hilt here by Matthew McConaughey) contracts the virus and is given about thirty days to live. Then he’s told he can’t have AZT because it’s still in its infancy/trial stages.
It’s bad enough being given a death sentence and denied the one drug that gives you even a glimmer of hope. Now imagine being one of the early and rare cases of female-to-male transmission when the “experts” didn’t even know that was possible. You get no real help or even a modicum of sympathy from your so-called friends — the same ones who pursued women with you — because they’re too busy tormenting you for “being gay.” After a while that doesn’t even phase Ron, because soon Ron has a plan, and it doesn’t include dying or his former posse of losers.
Ron is understandably infuriated and when he can’t get help from the medical establishment, he takes matters into his own hands. When he sees that what he’s doing works for him, he schemes to get his regimen in the hands of other AIDS sufferers. Whatever else you can say about Ron, he’s scared of nothing. If the Grim Reaper won’t cow him, neither will a bunch of bureaucrats. He forms an unlikely alliance with a transgendered patient named Rayon (Jared Leto) to help others.
McConaughey was incredible here, with a character arc that was subtle and effortless, and Leto was also amazing as Rayon. The soundtrack was a mix of T-Rex and other good things, and worked perfectly. Great movie.
Three chocolate morsels and a plate of good Tex-Mex.