Movie Review: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Terry's Take

Movie Review: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

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Matthew Mcconaughey gives one of the best performances of the year in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, a drama based on the true story of a Texas cowboy who took treatment into his own hands after being diagnosed with HIV in 1985.

Matthew McConaughey is Ron Woodroof, a rough and tumble cowboy who wakes up one morning in a hospital.

Doctor: You've tested positive for HIV. Have you ever used intravenous drugs? Have you ever engaged in homosexual…
Ron: Homo, you say homo. You made a mistake. That ain't me.
Doc: Mr. Woodroof, we estimate you have 30 days left.

At first this homophobic Texan is devastated. He can't get into the clinical trials for the anti-aids drug, AZT, so he heads for Mexico where a former doctor offers him supplements.
 
Doc (handing Ron a vial): Protein, totally non toxic.
Ron: You can't buy this in the U.S.A.?
Doc: Not approved.
Ron: You could be makin'' a fortune off this.

So, hustler that he is, Ron decides to capitalize on the situation, and disguising himself as a priest, he smuggles boxes of the protein as well as other supplements back into Texas. But he needs a partner to connect with afflicted gay men. Rayon (played by Jared Leto), an HIV transsexual he met in the hospital approaches his car.

Ron: Listen Tinkerbell; unless you've got new clients or more cash, I'm busy.
Rayon: You don't deserve our money.

But after some discussion, Rayon becomes Ron's partner for 25% of his business.

Both actors lost about forty pounds to take on these roles, and both are utterly convincing.

When one of Ron's doctors (played by Jennifer Garner) discovers some of her patients are taking Ron's supplements, she's upset.

Garner: None of those drugs have been approved by the FDA.
Ron: Screw the FDA! I'm gonna be D.O.A.

To avoid running afoul of the FDA, Ron sells memberships to his Dallas Buyers Club for 400 dollars a month. He gets more and more customers, because people are actually seeing improvements in their health after taking his supplements.
 
Ron: I ain't sellin'' drugs; I'm sellin'' memberships.

But the FDA is onto him anyway.
         
FDA guy: Importing illegal drugs for sale; it's a very serious offense.
Ron: They're not illegal; they're merely unapproved.

In addition to the amazing performances of the two lead actors, what I really liked about this movie is how it avoids sentimentality and it doesn't whitewash Ron or turn him into some kind of hero.

He's a shrewd operator to the end, but he does get over hating gays--he and Rayon become good friends.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.            thunter@hawaiinewsnow.com