Dallas Buyers Club
Lanky Ron Woodroof was a macho bullrider and full-time party animal from Texas. When doctors told him he was HIV-positive, he went into very angry denial. When his AIDS symptoms became overwhelmingly obvious, he began a headlong battle looking for cures—mainstream or otherwise—and becoming a kind of outlaw advocate for AIDS patients. Dallas Buyers Club charts Woodroof’s journey from macho, homophobic bon vivant to swashbuckling purveyor of medical alternatives. A big part of Woodroof’s story comes off here as a dark-humored picaresque escapade, a furiously rambunctious bootlegging caper in the midst of life-and-death emergencies. That makes for an intriguing narrative hook, but Dallas Buyers Club earns its deepest interest by way of two remarkable performances—Matthew McConaughey, in a devilishly engaging turn as the rough-edged Woodroof, and a floridly sashaying Jared Leto as transvestite Rayon. The screenplay, however, is very uneven. Director Jean-Marc Vallée and McConaughey make the most of its stronger points, but the scripted mixture of didacticism and entertainment sometimes falls flat.