‘Dallas Buyers Club’ presents us with Texas rodeo, Ron (Matthew McConaughey), whose life is drastically altered when he is told he is HIV positive and has 30 days to live. Set against the politics of the late 80s and the fears of AIDs and homosexuals, Ron battles with acceptance. He travels to Mexico in search for cures and, along with transgender woman Rayon (Jared Leto), sets up a buyers’ club, making money and challenging the FDA. The film truly wraps you up in the characters and the politics of the time. It’s both poignant and heartbreaking to watch Ron and Rayon deteriorate and Ron overcome his life of homophobia, prostitutes and cocaine.
Everything about Matthew McConaughey Oscar winning performance embodies Ron’s character. His staggering weight loss, along with his bad jeans and aviators, makes for an entirely convincing performance. Yet, he is almost outshined by Jared Leto, whose performance as HIV positive Rayon is astounding. Although Leto has been given the gift of some excellent lines, his delivery is amazing. Perfectly treading the line between comically over-playing and understating Rayon’s wisdom, you can’t help but warm to her. Her Boy George photos and sobering drug use are painfully endearing and she becomes one of those characters you can’t help but think about for weeks afterwards.
Rayon and Ron’s journey is truly inspiring, and as Ron travels to Mexico, Japan and Israel and their friendship begins to transcend their business. Their relationshipbecomes emblematic of the film’s message of the universality of AIDs as the two misfits struggle together and actually make a difference. Based on a true story, it’s a testament to the controversial success of buyers clubs, against the cold face of American institutions like the FDA and their failures to respond effectively to the needs of AIDs patients.
Another excellent film from the back of Oscars season, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ again leaves an inspiring and lingering impression.
by Isabelle Pitman, Razz Film and literature Correspondent