So with another addition to the Oscar nominees that I have seen in recent weeks I am fast approaching my goal of seeing every single one of the Best Picture nominees prior to the big event. Initially I think I’ll start this review by saying that I think I liked Dallas Buyers Club more than Her but way less than The Wolf of Wall Street. However, I’m not sure where exactly it lies in relation to 12 Years a Slave so we’ll leave that decision until I’m held at gunpoint by a film maniac and forced to choose.
Another film based on a true story, Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of AIDS sufferers in 80s Dallas. The protagonist, homophobic, philandering, drug taking, cowboy, Ron Woodrooff, played by Matthew McConaughey who is continuing his streak of remarkable roles after Mud, is given 30 days to live after being diagnosed with AIDS. Woodroof illegally smuggles drugs into America in order to attempt better treatment of AIDS and to avoid being caught by the FDA sets up a Buyers Club where patients are paying for membership and getting the drugs free so Woodroof is technically not breaking the law.
Despite McConaughey’s skill, the most startling and, in my opinion, most outstanding performance comes from Jared Leto. Taking the form of Woodroof’s unlikely friend and business partner, a HIV positive transgender woman, Rayon, he is incredible from start to finish. Genuinely moving, witty and believable. It is a beautiful performance and one which I hope he wins Best Supporting Actor for, as he truly deserves it. Both McConaughey, but even more so Leto’s emaciated frames show just how much they have put into their roles and adds a certain gravity to the plight of these characters. Furthermore, Woodroof should, in theory, be an incredibly unsympathetic character but you cannot help but feel for him and eventually grow to like him. The second anti-hero of Oscar season along with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort, McConaughey’s character development is another astonishing feature to be noted. His romantic relationship with his doctor, Jeniffer Garner, is very sweet and her performance adds another level of warmth to the film.
To be perfectly honest I can’t really speak highly enough of this film and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. The incredibly moving story was littered with funny moments which gave the whole story an incredibly human feeling and if Jared Leto doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor I will be shocked and very annoyed.
More to come.