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There’s been a lot of talk about how much of a game-changer Dallas Buyer’s Club is for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. The film’s not only a reminder of how valuable life is, but also of how much of an Oscar vehicle it’s trying to be. 

The Players:

  • Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Writers: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts
  • Cinematography by: Yves Bélanger

Plot Synopsis:

The year is 1986 and Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) is a simple Texan electrician whose joys include rodeos, women and alcohol. He’s forced to re-examine his priorities when he contracts the AIDS virus turning into a crusader for alternative medicine while struggling to stay alive.

The Good:

  • The Performances: You can’t begin to describe this movie without touching on the talented actors carrying it. McConaughey and Leto display an incredible amount of dedication to their roles. As the film progresses, I found myself recognizing them more as their characters than their own selves. It’s usually difficult to look past the name and celebrity of some actors to see the performances, but it was rather easy here.
  • Production Design: The overall production budget was small, but the production design and general look was great. It wasn’t incredibly overdone with stereotypical bright colors and over-the-top hairdos because the story shouldn’t be hidden underneath stereotypical ’80s clutter.
  • The Story: Since this is based on a true story, there’s already a skeletal plot that they can pick apart. They transformed an already inspirational tale into an even bigger one. It’s clear, tragic and hopeful all at the same time. It may sound like the usual Oscar bait you’d see in theaters this time of year but it really works.

The So-So:

  • The Direction: Jean-Marc Vallée is normally a strong director but in this case, he takes a backseat to the performances. There’s nothing bad about his work, it just doesn’t leave much of an impression on the viewer. He does a fine job executing the film and getting us from point A to point B but it’s too subtle for its own good.
  • Why This Film: There are a lot of poignant themes about how important life can be and how it’s never too late to start over again and become a better person. At some parts, the movie leans towards the melodramatic side due to the heavy subject matter. This slightly hurts it, but it’s necessary to get the point across. The struggles of people with AIDS is still very real today, and it’s tough to watch as you see these withered people try to retain some hope in their lives.

Overall:

Dallas Buyers Club is memorable to a degree due to its strong talent, while everything else comes off as just satisfactory. It’s not a film you would want to watch multiple times.

The Rating: 7.5/10

Dallas Buyers Club is out in limited theaters now.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing The Dallas Buyer’s Club this weekend?