ByPhil M Payton, writer at
Phil M Payton

'Dallas Buyers Club' is your typical Oscar nominated film. It tells the story of a man forcing himself to live through an incurable disease and help others in the same situation. But there's more to it than that, i'm not talking about story, pacing or any of the numerous emotional scenes. No, what makes it more than what it has any right to be are the performances. The cast make what is a solid, well put together film an excellent one - worthy of all the praise lavished on it. They bring an authentic feel and lift the characters above convention and what you expect of them. Yes the story itself has problems but 'McConaughy', 'Leto', 'Garner' and whoever else make the film an hypnotic watch.

It would be easy to accuse me of putting to much focus on the performances - after all i did just say this is what makes it great. But they're not only pitch perfect performances, they raise everything with it. things carry more weight, become more believable and have a greater impact. Telling the real story of 'Ron Woodroof' (Matthew McConaughey) a Texas born homophobic womanizer who contracts HIV and his struggles to get the drugs he and other sufferers need. He's a stereotypical Texan cowboy, getting down and dirty with women, drugs and bets. He's not a nice person to be around and at first outright ignores in disbelief that he has contracted HIV. The film does very briefly point out what was at the time a misconception. That only gay men could contract it and not that drugs can be the cause. This is the point at which 'Ron' finally comes to the realization that this isn't wrong or a joke this has happened to him - and there's not much he can do about it.

From there on in things escalate quickly trying to desperately get the drugs he needs by test trials - he resorts to creating his own drugs business with unapproved drugs that are proven to work. As time goes on, his partnership with 'Rayon' (Jared Leto) eventually cracks his hard appearance and personality - and excepting (but still not liking) the gay community. 'McConaughey' brings a gradual realism to it that is totally dependent on the performance there's not an ounce of forcefulness to it. At this point things start to narrow and go down an expected path with obvious resolution for 'Rayon' and Ron's frustration with a broken testing system. It's fine but it doesn't provide any push forward thankfully the intensity in some of these scenes from all involved elevate it and keep things interesting. And this, this is the reason that 'McConaughey' deserves the nod above 'Chiwetel Ejiofor' and 'Leonardo Di Caprio' all give excellent performances but the script here isn't as strong and when it starts to go the plain old way 'McConaughey' pushes it that much further.

'Dallas Buyers Club' just piles on more of the brilliance in cinema that 2013 delivered. A good film made great by the power house acting of 'McConaughey'. It starts off strong at some point goes down an expected path but that doesn't matter, these characters are so well crafted that the usual plot-lines are nice - giving more focus on Ron's struggles and his change of opinion. Occasionally funny, sometimes shocking and often emotionally charged.

A+, 9.2/10

Favourite Parts:

- Matthew McConaughey's performance.

- The acting puts it up to that next level

- 'Leto', 'Garner' everyone is great. - Excellent character development that is helped by a narrow plot toward the end.


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