“Lots of Skinny People Coughing Up Blood”- THE DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB Movie Review
In his recent tirade of giving really good performances in really good movies and thus making me regret all those effigies I once made, Matthew McConaughey turns in another hell of a performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club.
He’s rough and tumble, hard-drinkin’, cocaine-snortin’, prostitute fornicatin’, bull ridin’ sunnovabitch Ron Woodruff, who isn’t gay, you homo, who happens to come down with a nasty case of the HIV, a disease very closely associated with the homosexual community, you homo. After two doctors (one of whom is Jennifer Garner, the other of which is not) put our hero on an experimental treatment regimen that simply does not work, he’s off to Mexico to find something that’ll really cure him. Seeing an open market to sell this stuff in the United States, he opens up an operation called, you got it, The Dallas Buyers Club.
It’s through this forum that Woodruff meets AIDS-positive transvestite Rayon (an almost unrecognizable Jared Leto, mostly unrecognizable because this is the first film I can recall where he doesn’t get the absolute punk rock tar beaten out of him). Rayon and Ron form the strangest partnership this side of that time Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd switched bodies and wore black face, especially since Ron is a Good Old Boy and doesn’t tolerate all that homo nonsense, you homo.
Ron’s arc from intolerant dolt to local folk hero is one that should fall flat on its face into a pie of preach, but manages to feel genuine and earned the entire way through. The same goes for Ron’s rallying against the FDA, that dreaded government force that tells you what cheese you can eat. Of course, The Dallas Buyers Club is trying to teach you about these things, and make you think more seriously about them, but it never feels like I’m being preached to, at least until the last fifteen minutes or so. Director Jean-Marc Vallee understands that anyone that goes to the “Matthew McConaughey has AIDS” movie is already pretty accepting of homosexuality, and really doesn’t try to force that message down our throats, because he knows that it’s already there.
This film rests on the laurels of its two central performances. McConaughey has really turned a corner in recent years, proving he can be more than just a pair of abs with a smirk and a girlfriend who is prettier than yours’. With movies like Killer Joe, Bernie, and Mud, he has proven that he is an incredibly talented pair of abs with a smirk and a girlfriend who is prettier than yours’, you homo. He lost a scary amount of weight to accurately play Ron Woodruff, but that is just one small part of what comes out to be an incredibly strong performance. He’d be my pick for the Best Actor Oscar if 12 Years a Slave hadn’t come out earlier this year.
The exact same sentiment goes for Jared Leto, whose performance as Rayon does much to humanize both Ron Woodruff and the AIDS crisis, putting a loveable face on the conflict, keeping it from skewing too far into schmaltz. It’s a really, truly human performance in a role that could have gone so far over the top.
The Dallas Buyers Club is a reserved film. Nothing big or showy ever happens, and you’d be hard-pressed to pull out one clip to really illustrate any particular element or sell a 60-year-old white male voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the idea that this movie is worthy of their accolades. It’s all a mix, a steady directorial hand guiding a strong screenplay and two wonderful performances to a satisfying conclusion. This is a solid, solid film, one that should place nicely on Top Ten lists across the land.
Final Verdict: 7.5/10 Jared Letos in a Skirt.
Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of apology letters to Matthew McConaughey. Be sure to leave your comments below, and follow or subscribe above for more updates.
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