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"Dallas Buyers Club" Review: Philadelphia meets Erin Brockovich


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Yavin

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Posted November 01 2013 - 10:48 AM

Here's my full review of the film: http://cinematically...ClubReview.html

 

And an excerpt:

 

Despite the sombre subject matter, director Jean-Marc Vallée's film isn't overly morose. It's poignant and heartbreaking but also surprisingly humorous in spots, largely owing to McConaughey's performance. He infuses the role with light touches of his trademark charisma, but make no mistake -- this is not the Matthew McConaughey that audiences know. Much like Charlize Theron in Monster and Christian Bale in The Machinist, he undergoes a stunning physical transformation for the film, allowing him to disappear completely into his role. Likewise for Jared Leto, who plays Ron's unlikely business partner, a cross-dresser named Rayon, who happens to be a fellow AIDS patient. Their relationship anchors the film -- as two strangers who start off worlds apart but who eventually grow to depend on and value one another -- and is one of the key factors that inspire change in Ron. Both actors shed a significant amount of weight for their roles, and they give such mesmerizing and memorable performances that it's easy to forget about their usual leading man good looks.

 

Review Score: 4 out of 5


Read all my reviews here.


#2 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted November 01 2013 - 02:20 PM

I'll probably review this even higher.

 

Being a straight man into women who are anything but...

 

This movie will hit home for several of my lifelong friends.



#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted November 22 2013 - 10:25 PM

Having seen a truly badly directed film earlier (Delivery Guy), it was a nice relief to watch a film whose director knew how to block scenes and pull the viewer into the film with the camera work and directorial choices.

 

Matthew McConaughey will most likely garner a Best Actor Oscar nomination with his work in this film as Ron Woodruff, an unlikely pioneer in AIDS self-medication and research after been diagnosed as HIV+.  I had no idea Jared Leto played Rayon, an unlikely partner-in-crime for Woodruff given Rayon's cross-dressing propensities.  The script and performances feature a wide gamut of character development, and is paced well, even with its 2-hour running time. I would not be surprised if Leto garners a Best Supporting Actor nomination either, heartbreaking work between Leto and McConaughey.

 

I give it 3 stars, or a grade of B.


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#4 of 14 ONLINE   TravisR

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Posted November 23 2013 - 10:43 AM

Matthew McConaughey is very good in this movie but I thought Jared Leto was even better. Given the story, I expected and it would have been easy for the movie to give its actors a big "Give this man an Oscar!"-type of death scene but it wisely doesn't do that and it manages to walk a very fine line of not pulling its sad punches while also not exploiting the audience's sympathies either. The friendship that develops between Ron and Rayon was really quite moving. I hope people check this one if only because the performances are so good.


Edited by TravisR, November 23 2013 - 10:44 AM.

  • Mikael Soderholm and Tino like this

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted November 30 2013 - 01:44 PM

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't find Ron to be a sympathetic character at all.  He's rude, crass, bigoted, ego-centric and concerned with only one person: himself.  There isn't a single thing he does in this movie which is strictly for someone else.  Everything is about him.  He gets into the drug business for himself.  He starts his little club as a way to make money and get his drugs.  He goes to court for himself.  His view of the gay community, even at the end of the movie, changes not because he sees the light but because they're a source of income for him when his (former) friends turn their back on him.

 

(The only scene scene which shows any kind of selflessness is in the supermarket.  I would then argue he wasn't protecting Rayon; he was lashing out at someone who called him ugly names and was standing up for himself.)

 

Don't take any of this to mean I didn't like McConaughey.  I really did and truly believe he's a leading contender for Best Actor this year.  Jared Leto should also be a lock for at least a Supporting Actor nomination, if not a win.  He's mesmerizing from start to finish.

 

A 4 out of 5 for me.



#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 01 2013 - 11:07 AM

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I didn't find Ron to be a sympathetic character at all.  He's rude, crass, bigoted, ego-centric and concerned with only one person: himself.

By all accounts, "rude, crass, bigoted, ego-centric" and homophobic also describes the real Ron Woodroof. And yet, he risked his life and his liberty over and over and over again and many, many people are probably alive that wouldn't have been if Ron hadn't filled the gap between infection and FDA approval of more effective HIV treatments. Lots of people have had selfish motives for doing things that have great societal benefit.

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted December 01 2013 - 11:13 AM

I understand what you're saying, Adam, but he didn't do any of what he did for anyone but himself.  Yes, he did risk liberty and his own well being...in order to give himself a way to live.  He was evicted from his trailer, he apparently lost his job, he lost his friends.  He needed to make money.  Hence he sold the meds in the park at first and then from the hotel via the club.  In an indirect way, you can say he helped a lot of people, but the first person he was always out for was himself.  Everyone else was secondary.



#8 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted December 01 2013 - 12:40 PM

You're right. Nobody ever starts a business for the benefit of themself first...



#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted December 01 2013 - 04:40 PM

I didn't say starting a business to benefit themselves is wrong.  What I said is he's still dispicable and he started the club for himself, not for anyone else.  He used a community he had disdain for to make a living.  I'm going to add hypocrite to the list of adjectives for Ron.



#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 01 2013 - 06:07 PM

I didn't say starting a business to benefit themselves is wrong.  What I said is he's still dispicable and he started the club for himself, not for anyone else.  He used a community he had disdain for to make a living.  I'm going to add hypocrite to the list of adjectives for Ron.

I guess there's two ways to look at it. I don't think he looked at his enterprise as a profit-generating machine. His efforts to obtain the drugs he felt he needed to survive required too much of his time to continue working as an electrician. He needed a customer pool to spread out the cost. Then there's lab testing to ensure purity, travel expenses, distribution costs, etc. I would lump keeping a roof over his head and food in his pantry as part of the administrative costs of the enterprise. While he had selfish motives, I definitely don't view it as a purely selfish enterprise. He needed customers to defray his costs, and his customers needed him. It seems pretty win-win to me.

#11 of 14 ONLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 12 2013 - 07:23 PM

One of the year's best.  It's just amazing to be able to say that McConaughey has become possibly the best actor working the past few years.  If not the best he's certainly up there with DiCaprio and Penn. 

 

As for the character, I think his attitude towards gays and life was pretty normal for the era and I'm sure it was pretty bad in Texas.  Hell, just look at how his friends treated him and it was actually worse than what he was doing by running his mouth about gay people.  I'm not sure how true the story is as I'm sure stuff is made up but I liked the character development that he went through.  The

Spoiler
sequence was the most powerful in the film.  McConaughey was simply wonderful in the role but so was Jared Leto.  As Travis said, it's good that this film (unlike 12 YEARS) did fall into the Oscar-bait by pushing its emotions.  Instead most of the "Oscar moments" were left off the screen and instead the story really did do the talking. 



#12 of 14 ONLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted December 12 2013 - 07:26 PM

I guess there's two ways to look at it. I don't think he looked at his enterprise as a profit-generating machine. His efforts to obtain the drugs he felt he needed to survive required too much of his time to continue working as an electrician. He needed a customer pool to spread out the cost. Then there's lab testing to ensure purity, travel expenses, distribution costs, etc. I would lump keeping a roof over his head and food in his pantry as part of the administrative costs of the enterprise. While he had selfish motives, I definitely don't view it as a purely selfish enterprise. He needed customers to defray his costs, and his customers needed him. It seems pretty win-win to me.

 

 

SPOILERS

 

Agreed.  Had Ron's "friends" accepted that he had AIDS, let him stay in the trailer and kept his job, more than likely he really would have died within months.  I think it's obvious that he got into this to make money but he had to.  Being out of work certainly meant he couldn't afford the drugs and many of the people who needed the drugs weren't going to be willing to become drug dealers.  Both sides certainly "won" to a point but then again, most ended up losing in the end sadly.



#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Cinescott

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Posted January 24 2014 - 03:52 PM

I saw this recently and was blown away by McConaughey and Leto's performances. Incredible, and it was made for 4.9 million in 25 days. Small budget does not always equate with cheap.


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#14 of 14 ONLINE   Tino

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Posted January 26 2014 - 10:57 AM

Terrific film. Sure fire Oscar winners in McC and Leto.

***1/2 out of ****
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