Set in 1985, Ron Woodroof worked as an electrician and part time con man. On the side, he was a bit of a player, drug user and all around trouble maker. His reckless lifestyle eventually caught up with him when he contracted AIDS from unprotected sex. After hitting some roadblocks for treating the disease, he eventually decided to start looking into alternate treatment methods that even led to him traveling to other countries to seek resources known for helping to stave off the symptoms of the disease and make living with it possible.
Eventually, he set up a buyer’s club in Dallas, TX for other victims of the disease as a way of making money. His cause turned in a more selfless direction as struggles intensified when many of the resources he tried to import from other countries kept being targeted by the FDA while they pushed their own agenda influenced by the pharmaceutical companies looking to increase their profits.
Matthew McConaughey plays Woodroof and delivers an amazing performance. McConaughey often ends up in roles playing the slick, smooth guy but in this film he depicts a man who is anything but showing a range to his skills we don’t often get to see. He’s raw, intense, broken and vulnerable while still managing to be strong at the same time. Jared Leto also delivers a compelling performance as a gay man and business partner to Woodroof in the buyer’s club. It’s nice to see Leto back on the screen, he delivers consistently passionate performances in most roles he plays with this movie being no exception.
Jean-Marc Vallee directs this real-life story in a gritty, human style that’s presented in a tight package that keeps everything moving while accenting the more emotionally impactive moments in moving ways. The authenticity of the design, wardrobe and sets is spot on showcasing the mid-80’s in a believable way when the disease first spread and made major news.
Dark at times and heartbreaking but educational and moving. I highly recommend seeing Dallas Buyers Club.
reviewed by Sean McKnight