Dallas Buyers Club

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
Dallas Buyers Club

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

It’s getting difficult (enjoyably so) to keep track of the many shades of guff Matthew McConaughey seems hell-bent on exploring these days. Conveniently – and a touch calculatingly – they’re all on display in the stirring Dallas Buyers Club, a one-stop shop of the actor’s newfound fluidity.

He starts off desperate and rascally, hopping rodeo fences to escape debts. It’s a bleak, sunbaked 1986 and Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a bottom-scraping addict, is about to hear the death sentence of an HIV-positive diagnosis. Out of the man comes a volley of vitriol and then, tapping into the star’s inviolable gift for comic timing, there’s an unlikely trip to the public library, where some disheartening medical research provokes a scruffy rage explosion against the shushers. Only 20 minutes in and you’re not going to think of another lead who could pull off this kind of reckoning – tangy, furious and about to become whip-smart.

The story is a real-life one: Woodroof shocked local doctors not only by surviving many more years, but also by evolving into an illegal substance importer, a well-heeled operator and a provider of hope. Dallas Buyers Club fits our Breaking Bad moment perfectly, offering a difficult hero whose personal code takes on an intriguing coherence. "I like your style, Hiroshi," McConaughey coos to a Japanese supplier, the movie arriving at its brainy peak.

Woodroof himself probably wouldn’t call it a mission, but that’s the special takeaway of this film, about how a higher purpose can sneak up on a vile person in shades. He’s reborn, ennobled by a crisis and in love with his new vocabulary. The change is both modest and monumental; we should all be so lucky as to have one.

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Details

Release details

Rated:
MA
Release date:
Thursday February 20 2014
Duration:
117 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Jean-Marc Vallée
Cast:
Matthew McConaughey
Jennifer Garner
Jared Leto

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