Direction: Jean-Marc Vallée
Script: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
With: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.
It is so undeniable obvious how ignorant people were at that time about AIDS, stripping it out from all the shame and terror it represented. Also the pharmaceutical (disgusting) business and their deals with hospitals for new uncertified treatments in order to earn money. They put people's misery and despair into their wallets. And along with that they banned everything else that could destroy their “kingdom” of treatments.
Here comes our hero, who after the shock of being sick, he quits his job and starts a small illegal business of treating HIV patients like himself with importing medicine from Mexico and other countries. His influence is big and his business brains will prove a priceless weapon for himself and everyone around him. Drugs and alcohol didn't manage to get out of his life though and his attitude towards other people keeps being mean and arrogant (and in times hilarious).
He meets Rayon, a drug addict trans who is also sick with HIV. Even though their first encounter is not really ideal, they turned out to be close partners and friends. The truth is that the relationship between Ron and Rayon is not given the proper time to flourish on screen. We follow them around the film quite scared of how Ron would behave towards Rayon, while there is not really a connection somewhere to prove that he actually accepted his partner. We just see the ending phase of this relationship, that they have become good and truthful friends.
While the character of Mathew McConaughey tries so hard to be rude and to build a sort of “protection” wall against other people, he also provokes an embarrassing laughter while his character acts like that. So tough and straight that to our eyes looks a bit ridiculous. But the character was real and his behavior and choices where also real. Many people who were like that existed back then, especially to a city like Dallas. And they probably still exist. So it is not really funny, but mostly depressing and disappointing.
Ron changes though, through all these business and especially through the disease. Even though he has so many bad elements as a person, he is still doing everything his own way only to help himself and other people. I would love to see more about the court procedures and all the decisions taken but here obviously is not about that. Here is about people trying to make amends with their harsh reality and try to decide what to do with the remaining time. Sometimes through McConaughey's performance we feel how his character feels, we understand in a peculiar way all his motives, fears and choices, while we subconsciously console him for the impact his actions have, even though they are racist, dysfunctional and completely irrational.
This movie has many faces, has many parts that wants to narrate. But does it actually manage to say what it wanted to say from the beginning? In an extent yes it does. Clearly the director tried to fit the small romance with Garner into the film unsuccessfully, but also the relationship with Rayon. It seems that everything is about Ron and the movie cannot escape from this. It is not necessarily bad, it is just enough. You see the gradual change into Ron, but you fail to separate his relationships and distinguish their progress through the plot.
Ron doesn't want you to like him. Actually he doesn't really care if you or anyone else likes him. He is very obnoxious but at the same time what he tries, and at the end manages to do, is extraordinary. Attempting to help sick people with effective medicine, attempting to ease their pain and mostly his pain. We do see him go through many sentimental turbulences and making amends at the end with his condition. He is strong and a fighter, a magnificent characteristic that is obvious not until the very end.
Dallas Buyers Club is a bit not sure where to confine itself, whether it is his genre (drama, comedy, political, historical, biography) or its story, but at the end you can see clearly what its purpose was; through Ron's story to talk about a matter that is still a taboo in many places in the world, to show how people can deal with their very own real and harsh problems and how a surprise in your life can turn out both inspirational and truthful for you and the others around you.