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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

In 1986, a self employed electrician, part time rodeo rider and full time party animal (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with HIV. When he has a toxic reaction to AZT which he obtained illegally, he goes to Mexico where he discovers medications not yet approved by the FDA that improve his medical condition. He then forms the Dallas Buyers Club where members join for a monthly fee and get the meds he smuggles from all over the world. Based on a true story, as cinema Jean Marc Vallee's film (amazingly shot in just 25 days) never rises above solid and competent. It's well made though the familiar terrain never allows the film to surprise us. As the hard drinking, macho and homophobic cowboy, we know it's only a matter of time before McConaughey's character breaks down and realizes homosexuals are people too and start treating them with respect. More interesting are his battles with big government and the FDA, how pharmaceutical companies are making huge profits off of not finding cures or how the FDA is resistant to alternative medical treatments. But if there's any real reason to see the film, it's for the two potent performances of McConaughey and Jared Leto (a no brainer for an Oscar nomination) as a transsexual who becomes his business partner. With Jennifer Garner, Denis O'Hare, Steve Zahn and Griffin Dunne.

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