'Dallas Buyers Club' charts the remarkable actions of a hell-raising electrician who smuggles in unapproved HIV medicines in a bid to help himself and other patients.
When Ron Woodroof is diagnosed as HIV positive and given only 30 days left to live, the freewheeling rodeo cowboy bypasses the establishment and sources alternative drug treatments to help combat the disease. It's not long before he sets up the titular club, which allows other HIV and AIDS-stricken members to access the smuggled medical supplies.
Inspired by a true-life story, 'Dallas Buyers Club' stars Matthew McConaughey. ReviewContains Spoilers!
Simply put this is a film about a drug user and womaniser who rides in rodeos being infected with HIV/AIDS. He naturally is horrified, but equally he is stigmatized as gay, when he is not - the term 'f*g*ot' is used throughout.
In the 80s there was a frantic search for a cure for AIDS, when Rock Hudson died it shocked America(!), and of course in the UK with Freddie Mercury and then Kenny Everett the need for a cure was desperate! Many trials of drugs like AZT were in place, and randomised control trials meant that a high percentage of participants would receive a placebo and would die. However Ron Woodroof has only been given 30 days to live so attempts to buy anti-virals on the black market,
when he is no longer able to obtain them (he continually collapses with high-pitched ringing in his ears as a sound effect - you actually feel his pain too!) he decides to run to Mexico after a tip-off from a hospital orderly where he meets a doctor who has been struck off in the US and can only work there but is way ahead of the game and research. This doctor educates him about the 'new options' and that the US FDA are destroying lives when they can help - now!
[This reminds me a little of how transgender women are more expert than the medical practitioners treating them with hormones! IM]
He cannot import drugs himself or sell them legally. So as a 'work-around' he starts a 'Buyers club' copying a successful model in New York that was actually very profitable too. He travels the would sourcing these new 'wonder drugs' and brings them into the country and explains how they can be 'mixed' for the best results becoming a hero and an expert in the meantime... Working from a Motel room, the battle between him, the local hospital and it's doctors who he calls murderers, IRS, the FDA, the state, the police and customs is ongoing. Although one police officer who is his friend has a father with Alzheimer's and even suggests drugs to help him to which he is eternally grateful - Ron and his lawyer backed by gay money (for the most part) take on the US federal Government. He collapses wakes up in the Emergency Room of the same hospital rips the AZT drip from his arm and says "...you gave me 30 days that was 2 years ago get out of my way!" and storms out
This is based on a true story.Rayon
His partner in 'crime' (although its obvious that they are heroes!) Is a transwoman named 'Rayon', it is well reported that rock star (in real life) Jared Leto had to lose a lot of weight (see: http://i.perezhilton.com/wp-content/upl ... n__oPt.jpg
) and really throws himself into the role of becoming a trans-woman. However, it is clear that for most of this performance she is seen as a he, even the Doctor (who is her friend), later in the film talks about her and says,
"he died, he was my friend, he was a drug addict. And sadly at one point Rayon has to see her father and dresses as a male...
It is not a huge role, mostly Rayon is lying on the floor with a needle in her arm, and coupled with her AIDS and being trans, no doubt will play into many a stereotypical view of what a transperson is, unlike the lead 'Ron Woodroof' who was not gay - homophobic if anything.Overall
A good film that is almost totally focused on the performance of Matthew McConaughey, as Ron he was totally believable and may well receive an Oscar for this.
Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner (who plays Dr. Eve) were supporting him center-stage. As peripheral characters, they were great. At one point we find out that Rayon wants a 'sex-change' [SIC]
Ron - (about her drug use) "you carry on like this and you ain't gonna get that sex-change you are looking for!"
We also see Ron defend Rayon from abuse in a supermarket from one of his old homophobic buddies, who he puts in a throat lock until he sakes her hand - she is naturally very flattered.
Other instances are worry about touching people with HIV and he spits on one person who panics - it was like the touch of death or some zombie apocalypse back then I remember the scare stories and the big UK Tombstone ad, yet today HIV is on the increase because of ignorance and thanks to people like Ron it is now a manageable illness - how ironic.
Some funny moments include
her obsession with Marc Bolan and Ron says, "why is Boy George all over my f*cking walls!" Rayon retorts, "It's Marc Bolan!", Later he is seen looking at sexy photos whilst masturbating and accidentally finds himself looking at the cross-dressed photos and glam rock.
This is a very gritty, true-to-life biopic and it no doubt has been 'spiced-up' even more than what actually happened (I could be wrong of course it might equally have been worse! And so bad it was unable to be shown due to the sensibilities of the movie certification board). I felt as Jared Leto could have been a transperson in this as opposed to a ciswoman pretending as a result this kinda worked better. Obviously as a 'name', Jared will bring in more audience and air time than an unknown - this issue is a problem our community will continue to face whilst trans actors are overlooked for the more bankable names. Nevertheless, a great film.
4/5 TZ Stars - Good.
It fell short for one reason - no transgender person in the Rayon Role. I think they could have taken a risk with an 'unknown' here like 'Orange is the New Black'
did. Although Laverne is well-known in the trans community of course. A transwoman may have brought something less austere and I felt that the performance edged on a stereotype.