Cary, NC – Dallas Buyers Club tells the true story of Ron Woodroof, (Matthew McConaughey) a bull rider who in 1985 was diagnosed with HIV and was forced to go outside the system in order to get the treatment and medicine needed for both himself and others to survive.
McConaughey Impresses in Dallas Buyers Club
McConaughey has been having a bit of a career resurgence lately. I’ve always enjoyed him, even his romantic comedies (most of them, anyway), but something changed after The Lincoln Lawyer in 2011.
All of a sudden he seemed to take himself and his career more seriously, starring in indie hits Bernie, Killer Joe, Mud and Magic Mike among others. All of which had a darker, more complex edge to them, and McConaughey delivered each time.
He outdoes himself in Dallas Buyers Club though, losing almost 40 pounds in the process. It’s easily the most dedicated he’s ever been, delivering a focused performance that delves deep into the panic of knowing you’re going to die as well as the determination to live once that panic passes.
Leto Is Even Better
Good as McConaughey is though, it’s Jared Leto (Fight Club, Alexander, Girl, Interrupted) who brings the most emotional weight to the film as Rayon, a gay transvestite also struggling with the disease that becomes McConaughey’s unlikely ally.
Leto is absolutely heart breaking as the drug addict with a heart of gold. He gets McConaughey and the audience on his side fast with a sweet, sincere and street smart demeanor that makes his descent into addiction all the more devastating. It’s the best performance in a movie filled with great ones.
Great Performances, But Lack of Impact
Despite such strong performances though, Dallas Buyers Club struggles to have a lasting emotional impact. The film itself has a leisurely pace, one that allows you to take in everything the characters are going through along with them.
For some reason though, that pace is completely dropped for the ending, which speeds through what should be the film’s biggest moment, a court hearing determining the fate of Woodroof’s years long fight against the FDA. Granted, the film insists on a matter of fact tone throughout but , it’s a moment that deserved more, and the result ends up hurting the film more than it helps.
A Worthy Rental
I can’t quite recommend Dallas Buyers Club as a must see in theaters, but it’s a film that is more than worth seeing at home just for the career best performances from both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.
Review by Jordan Hunt for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews.