Dallas Buyers Club – Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford
I’d never heard of Ron Woodroof until seeing the trailer for this film and I’m sure I’m not the only one, I don’t know how realistic this film is in depicting the events that surrounded his life, but as a film it is a fascinating story.
Dallas Buyers Club centres around a Texas rodeo cowboy and electrician, who is diagnosed with HIV. What follows is a battle with the FDA over unapproved drugs and the approved drugs that are deemed toxic.
This isn’t just any film about AIDS, it’s intensely character-driven, not so much about the events in Ron’s life, but his relationships and the character developments which drive them.
This is made clear by Jared Leto’s portrayal of Rayon, the troubled, drug-addicted transvestite and fellow AIDS sufferer, a frienship which leads Ron’s initial homophobia to diminish into something much more compassionate.
Matthew McConaughey leads this film with a performance which is layered and utterly compelling, depicting the unrelenting horror of HIV and AIDS, it is horrible and unflinching.
However it is Leto that provides that genuine heart of the film, with great screen presence, but it’s his raw emotion that is truly impressive, particularly in the beautifully understated scene with his father.
In addition to these two leading roles is the support of Jennifer Garner as the nurse treating those with the contracted disease, she does an ok job although I never completely bought into her performance.
This is a film that kicks you in the guts and screams to be watched, the performances are utterly believable, heavy and unapologetic of it’s subject matter this is a film that is definitely deserving of an accolade or two.