“Dallas Buyers Club” Review: McConaughey and Leto are magnificent

Ayechan Oo, TSV Staff Writer

Winner of three Oscars among its six nominations, including Best Actor and Best Actor in a Supporting Role, “Dallas Buyers Club” is divergent from other movies that deal with AIDS.

Looking back to the time Tom Hanks won Best Actor for his portrayal as a gay man who is diagnosed with HIV in “Philadelphia,” “Dallas Buyers Club” is quite similar to “Philadelphia,” where both actors won awards for their compelling performance as AIDS patients and how the disease changed their life.

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is an electrician who overindulges in the opposite sex, and usually it is unprotected. The Texas-born actor continues his trait of wearing a cowboy hat again in this movie, but McConaughey is definitely not portraying the good looking character this time, like in “Killer Joe,” and he is not even close to the sexy stripper he played in “Magic Mike.”

Woodroof is a single cowboy who doesn’t have any serious issues in life. He lives with an uncertain future, he deals drugs, seduces women and rides bulls, which is his real passion. Upon learning of his HIV diagnosis, the uncertainty in his life becomes certain: 30 days to live.

Instead of crying over his diagnosis, the aggressive Woodroof basically gives the doctors the finger with his insults and wild behavior when they reveal to him that he is dying.

Woodroof refuses to take any of prescriptions that the doctors ordered; Instead he smuggles an untested drug from Mexico, which is not under FDA regulation. Even though he is hostile at first, he eventually works together with a transgender woman, Rayon, a fellow AIDS patient, to spread his unregulated drugs to other patients suffering from AIDS.

For his role, McConaughey had to lose 47 pounds. It was a shocking transformation from a muscular body to a gaunt, drawn one, which makes him no longer attractive when going shirtless.

Ultimately, McConaghey’s transformation looks as if he is another person. His early career as a charming, comedic and sexy portrayals has been replaced by a serious, emotional, unattractive cowboy in this movie. McConaughey deserved his Best Actor win, on his first nomination in the category, at the 2014 Academy Awards over four brilliant performances by four great actors.

The character Rayon is played perfectly by Jared Leto, of 30 Seconds to Mars, who is convincing with his lilting accent and with a certain kind of movement of his fingers throughout his time onscreen. Leto’s return to acting after five years away from films turns to be his golden time in the spotlight, by winning multiple awards for his portrayal as Rayon .

This true-story-based drama is wholly dependent on the phenomenal acting of its two lead stars. The film demanded so much of the actors, with both physical and mental transformations.

Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Dallas Buyers Club” is not a feel good movie; it can deliver much sadness throughout. It delivers its art different than most other dramas. Story-wise, it’s not the strongest. It doesn’t have any specific climax and also fails to give us any suspense or surprise and reason for curiosity. Even though the script was well-written, the story itself is not strong.