Dallas Buyer’s Club
This story of a tough rodeo man who contracts HIV and begins smuggling AIDS medicine into the states to sell it to other patients is pretty straight forward but captivating nonetheless. Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodriff, who is certainly a strong lead character and proves to be deeper than he originally seems. At the beginning of the movie you really feel sorry for him, since his deisease isolates him from anyone he knows and you realize he really has no one. It really makes you want him to succeed.
The story really works because its not just a telling of this man’s story, but a good study on a human being’s right to fight for his or her life when it is threatened. Woodriff is not a character to bow into the night and he struggles to survive, even when it seems like he doesn’t have much to really live for other than himself. I do however think that the movie really villifies the FDA, when I think this movie could have had an even deeper level to it if they presented more of an importance of drug trial for all vs. patient’s own right to survive debate. It really just shows the one side, albeit it shows it well.
McConaughey is excellent as Woodriff and really provides an emotional anchor for the audience. Jared Leto plays his cross-dressing business partner, and while its probably the best role he’s ever done, I still couldn’t help feeling like he won the role because he put a dress on and lost some weight. But his character did provide some levity and some emotional stakes for Woodriff. Jennifer Garner as the doctor who struggles with Woodriff’s self-medicating is really not that great. She hasn’t really seemed to grow much since her Alias days.
All in all, a good movie and worth watching for a strong lead performance, an interesting look into the AIDS epidemic, and for the theme of a patient’s rights. The ending is slightly protracted, but the first hal fis paced well enough to make up for it.