Review – Dallas Buyers Club

By Adam Lock
Published: October 3, 2017 (Last updated: February 8, 2024)

What would you do if you found out you had 30 days to live?

That is what cowboy Ron Woodroof has to decide after he is diagnosed with HIV and is given the devastating prognosis in this real-life epic. Until then, Ron had lived in his truck going to work on weekdays and spending his weekends at bullriding contests, blowing his money on drink, cocaine and prostitutes. However, when he receives the life-shattering news, he realises he should’ve taken better care of himself, and eventually decides to do whatever he can, legal and illegal, to prolong whatever time he has left. In doing so, he befriends Rayon, and also takes it upon himself to try and right some of the wrongs within America.

Taking a few years off to break his type-casting is probably one of the best things Matthew McConaughey has done. After roles in The Lincoln Lawyer and Killer Joe, McConaughey has become many directors’ new good idea, and aren’t we happy about that! He has put on some terrific performances in The Wolf of Wall Street, the earlier-reviewed True Detective, and now Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey is a knock-out as Ron and portrays the struggle of a man against the odds in such a way you cannot help but be touched by his story. Scenes where Ron just stops and cries are especially hard-hitting, as it shows how quickly everything can be taken away from you in just one fell swoop. Luckily for Ron though, he has a fighting spirit and takes the whole “30 days to live” scenario as a personal challenge. This is something else that McConaughey gets spot on. As you are sat there watching him, you feel the sheer determination radiating off of him – you actually believe you are watching Ron Woodroof battling his condition, and later on, the FDA and US pharmaceutical companies himself. Basically, to cut a long story short, McConaughey’s performance is something very special, and his Best Actor Oscar was very well deserved.

Jared Leto also deserved his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor as Rayon, as transsexual man Ron meets in hospital. They start off, I think it’s fair to say, not quite knowing what to make of each other, and the relationship certainly gets worse before it gets better, but they form a strong alliance, and this is something, yet again, that is made very believable thanks to the brilliance of Leto and McConaughey’s on-screen chemistry. However, Leto as Rayon as a whole is delightful as he plays the part with such passion, and, again, you do feel massively for the character.

As for the story, it is an account of the real-life struggle of Ron Woodroof and many other AIDS patients to get the drugs to prolong their lives and improve the quality of them. It has its ups, where you will laugh out loud and smile uncontrollably, but it ultimately has its downs, which adds to the realism of it all. It actually conveys real life, which adds to the magic of it all and makes it so mesmerising.

All in all, Dallas Buyers Club is a truly unforgettable film which will surely, one day, be a classic. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you should watch this film. Even if it is solely to pass a few hours of your time, it would definitely be a good way to pass them.

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