Dallas Buyer’s Club Review

McConaughey’s brilliant performance brings the AIDS crisis to life


Cody Owen, Reporter

Just about everything about this movie is shocking, from a gaunt, sickly Matthew McConaughey, to the inside of the mind of a terminal drag queen, and with the main characters taking so much cocaine that it could be a drinking game.

Dallas Buyers Club
Dallas Buyers Club

The movie is set in Dallas at the beginning of the U.S. AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s. McConaughey is cast as the hustling ex-rodeo cowboy Ron Woodruff who fills his free time with a steady mix of drugs and hookers that flow through his squalid mobile home. When he’s diagnosed with AIDS and given 30 days to live, the yokels that comprise his social group interpret it to mean that he is homosexual. Of course, in Texas, being homosexual equals social pariah.

After being evicted and cast out from the community, and on the verge of death, Woodruff heads to a doctor in Mexico, who gives him a series of new, non-FDA-approved drugs to treat his AIDS. They work, and he recovers (as much as he can).

Ever the hustler, he sets about buying these drugs and bringing them to the U.S. to sell as an alternative to the drugs currently approved by the FDA, which happens to worsen the effects of the disease.

The gravity and seriousness of the movie, accompanied with McConaughey’s profound performance in the role of Woodruff, makes the film a very intense experience. Woodruff is a very strange protagonist to watch. He’s racist, mean, cheating, womanizing and homophobic. At the same time, the prospect of death makes him completely rethink how he sees others, especially turning around his fear of homosexuals through working alongside his gay business partner Rayon, brilliantly played by Jared Leto

The depth of the anti-hero character of Woodruff in addition to Leto and McConaughey’s enthralling performances keeps you glued to the screen, even through all the tough, emotional, and even disgusting scenes that can turn your stomach, and you find yourself rooting for someone who, if he weren’t in the situation he was in, would be far more of a villain. Dallas Buyer’s Club is a truly unique experience, and is definitely one of the best movies of the year. The academy seems to think so too, it’s currently nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Film Editing.