Dallas Buyers Club – “More informing us rather than challenging us…”

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Dallas Buyers Club (Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée/2014)

Rodeo-redneck Ron Woodruf (Matthew McConaughey) is introduced as he witnesses a rider fall from a bull, while he has sex with two women behind the stalls of a cowboy show. He is diagnosed with AIDS, and initially dismisses it. He is homophobic but he learns to accept those he despised as they fight the same enemy. With transgender Rayyon (Jared Leto), Woodruf realises the uphill battle victims of HIV are up against. The FDA only approved one drug to combat HIV and he intends to supply sufferers with the many others available from other countries. Alluding to the smiley-face of a health surface hiding a sinister, capitalist greed, a clown becomes a recurring reminder of western hypocrisy. But Dallas Buyers Club is more informing us rather than challenging us. Performances are outstanding, and deserve the accolades, but the story feels less comfortable as drama and would suit a documentary better.

Rating: 7/10

This was originally written in February 2014