Saturday, November 30, 2013
It's hard to imagine a less likely crusader in the fight against AIDS than Ron Woodroof. A coke-snorting, womanizing, blue-collar Texan, Woodroof was diagnosed as HIV-positive in the mid-1980s and given 30 days to live—a death sentence he defied for years to become a pioneer in making "unapproved" drugs from out of the country available to his local AIDS community.
It's a true story that unspools as a tale of bizarre alliances and unexpected heroism in the pugnacious, yet affecting drama, Dallas Buyers Club.
Directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée (switching gears from his best-know film, stateside, The Young Victoria), from a script by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club rests almost entirely on the frighteningly thin shoulders of star, Matthew McConaughey.
Mud, earlier this year.)
Playing Woodroof is the cherry on top, and McConaughey gives it everything he's got. His Woodroof is a brash, profane antihero who acquires shading, sympathy, even grace, in the process of rising to meet life's challenges. The actor lost thirty pounds for the role and it's a shock to see him so emaciated.
But he earns his (almost certain) Oscar nomination not for his diet, but for he unquenchable drive and cool chutzpah he brings to the role, and the film. And he's not the only one: co-star Jared Leto (with McConaughey, right) gives an equally bold and vivid performance as a sassy transvestite who becomes Woodroof's business partner.
Jennifer Garner is on hand as a compassionate doctor and low-key potential romantic interest. But the real love affair here is between McConaughey and the acting profession. His bravura performance keeps the movie alive. (Read more)