THE BOTTOM LINE: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

FEATURING:  Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne

DIRECTOR:  Jean-Marc Vallee

GENRE:  Drama

SYNOPSIS:  True story of Texan, Ron Woodroof, a homophobic drug addict, who upon being diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, forms a club where the dying can get medications that weren’t approved by the inefficient FDA.

RATING:  R

RUNNING TIME: 117 Mins

THE GOOD:  This film is a love letter to all the brave men and women who broke the law in order to save lives of the disenfranchised and it should be applauded.

It shows over and over how little was done to save the lives of those people dying of AIDS during the early 80s because AIDS was reported to be a disease that only killed gay men.  And for that reason alone, you should make an effort to see this film. 

Matthew McConaughey’s bid to win an Oscar is formidable, but it is Thirty Seconds to Mars Rocker Jared Leto (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM and TV’s MY SO CALLED LIFE) who gives a better performance.

Kudos to Leto for avoiding all the pretty boy roles he was destined to play in order to be an actor of substance.

THE BAD:  We never see “Ron Woodroof” character before he was ill, and that was a big mistake because it makes McConaughey’s transformation seem less important that actually it is.  Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s there was only two reason for being that “thin”; You were either Karen Carpenter and had an eating disorder or you were dying from AIDS.

Another missed opportunity for McConaughey is the scene where “Woodroof” realizes how he got infected.  Because it is left so unclear, it becomes confusing on whether or not he lived a closeted life and was just in denial; again taking away from his performance.

As is, the film is unfocused and often meanders unnecessarily

For anyone who lived (and died) during the early 80s, there are moments when this film doesn’t ring true… or isn’t real enough to reflect the true horror of AIDS.  A better script would have had more impact. 

THE UGLY:  AIDS was never a “gay” disease… but, our government and the media made it out to be… and at the end, we all suffered from their ignorance.

MY SCORE: 

***

(3 OUT OF 5 STARS)