Title: Dallas Buyers Club
Language: English, Japanese
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Cinematography: Yves Bélanger
Riding the tidal wave of accolades and awards recognitions, will DALLAS BUYERS CLUB assist the vehement renaissance of Matthew McConaughey to decisively harvest an Oscar statue as the top honor? The odds are very rosy and clearly he is the front-runner now, the only weighty competitor is his THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2013) co-star DiCaprio, whose overdue condition may facilitate him to snatch the highest kudos.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is a dark horse in the BEST PICTURE race and altogether it picked up 6 nominations, apart from BEST LEADING ACTOR, Jared Leto is also having BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR trophy in his bag. Both men’s weigh-lost exploits are purely meritorious for the sake of taking “acting” with full-blooded dedication, which usually works every time, say Daniel Day-Lewis in MY LEFT FOOT (1989), or Tom Hanks in PHILADELPHIA (1993), right, the film is also about AIDS, but Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) is an out-and-out straight man, a dissolute rodeo actually, who is as parochial as his working-class peers, homophobic, ribald and unlikeable, squandering his life immoderately without repentance.
So, when HIV resides inside his body, as if the almighty God generously give Ron a chance to redeem his meaningless life, it is a customary one man’s fight against the venal DEA, the monopolized pharmaceutical enterprise and the collusive hospital MDs, but there is a missing point, like many biographical narratives, all the achievement comes rather easily in a way that we audiences never comprehend what makes the protagonist “the chosen one”, as for Ron, it is his macho heterosexuality distinguishes himself from the massive homosexual patients, thus the clash and metamorphosis is very theatrical, but how does he manage to be the pioneer in the business of illegal medicines deserves more detailed dissection.
Director Jean-Marc Vallée (C.R.A.Z.Y. 2005) is not a novice in dealing with gay-themed feature, although DALLAS BUYERS CLUB is more of an assigned job for him, a light touch comes effectively when he wields the rodeo clown metaphor to manifest Ron’s inner fear, surreptitious and hallucinating. The make-up team is quite praiseworthy too with so many damaged goods to take care of, the impact is authentically appalling.
From denial to acceptance, McConaughey unleashes an energetic personification with electrifying panache, self-destructive, uplifting and utter poignant, Ron is not a likable person, but in the end of the day, he becomes a better man, an unorthodox hero. Leto, on the other hand, sets an immaculate epitome of a woman’s soul trapped in a man’s body, his most emotive scene is the only time he wears a baggy man’s suit to ask help from his estranged father, awkward and uncomfortable, his vulnerability is all over the place. Jennifer Garner, as the good side of the hospital doctors, is almost characterless and generic, a major disappointment in the storyline, her patronizing poise is perpetually obtrusive, it is a character should not occupy so much of her screen time, we would love see more of Leto instead.
It is never a winning battle for Ron, the obstacles are too redoubtable to conquer and Ron doesn’t have the time either, we might wallow in the staged success, but the reality tells us it is a tough one to hem in the lucrative pharmaceutics within a modulated system, the “life first” rule certainly is easier said than done.