Jean-Marc Vallée’s film Dallas Buyers Club has not only got an excellent cast in Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, but it also features an incredible true story of human strength and survival.
Set in Texas, 1985, we follow Ron Woodroof’s (played by McConaughey) journey from questionable character to hero after he is diagnosed HIV positive with only 30 days to live. The uncomfortable phrase ‘full blown AIDS’ comes all too soon and Ron, an electrician and rodeo cowboy, realises it’s do or die. He takes his treatment into his own hands.
Ron’s research takes him to Mexico where he begins smuggling alternative treatments into the US, and via a legal loophole, creates the Dallas Buyers Club. This allows others access to the drugs that he’s found to be life changing. The unlikely friendship between Ron and transsexual and fellow AIDS patient Rayon, (Jared Leto) exposes prejudices and creates both heart warming and depressing scenes.
Dr. Eve Saks, (Jennifer Garner) is a well meaning and kind soul who is bound by her science, while trialling drugs that we now know made the disease worse. She becomes close to both Ron and Rayon, and is a core character in this story of defiance and the right to control your own treatment.
The performances here are phenomenal. From appearance alone you will see the commitment given from McConaughey and Leto who both give award worthy performances and have dramatically changed their physiques. Garner too stands her ground alongside these mesmerising characters, and shows the frustration on the side of the medical community who are being confronted with this terrible disease.
The story is told sensitively by Jean-Marc Vallée, and although it’s taken a long time to get here, the Dallas Buyers Club is triumphant film.
Perfectly cast this true story is confronting, empowering and highly emotive.
Dallas Buyers Club is out in NZ cinemas now.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar