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Dallas Buyers Club (2013) ****

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) ****

Based on the true-life story of Ron Woodroof, an AIDS patient who, back in the 80's, smuggled medicine and supplements into Texas after finding it to improve his symptoms, and then started illegally selling it to others, Dallas Buyers Club is a tale of transformation and redemption. This critically acclaimed biopic drama, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée to an original screenplay by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.
Dallas Buyers Club is not a cheerful movie and, when leaving the theater, one does not necessarily feel inspired to go out and change the world. Still, it has a certain quality that is noteworthy. The protagonist (Woodroof) is not of an especially pleasant character. At the start of the film he appears to be a lowlife crook who is also touched by a homophobic complex. This, by the way, is an exaggeration of the real-life character of Woodroof. The filmmakers took artistic liberty to make him more extreme so his later transformation is more apparent and thus dramatic. What is curious about Woodroof is the cause of his change in perspective. It is not because of having a vision while sitting atop of a mountain chanting OM, nor because of a sudden impulse of compassion towards his fellow man; rather, true to life, it is due to basic necessity, clinging to life, trying to survive just one more day. Yet, regardless of the cause, once Woodroof's viewpoint starts to shift, moral justification follows. It demonstrates the idea that change does not always happen from the inside out, but, and maybe even more often so, from the outside in.
McConaughey is simply terrific as is Leto whose performance as Woodroof's transgender business partner is simply stunning. The direction is mostly smooth, though the plot feels jumpy at times, and the pace gets lost at the later part of the film. All in all Dallas Buyers Club is a superb character study; a date flick it is not...

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