Entertainment

Reel Reviews: Buy into this best picture nominee

Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey star in Dallas Buyers Club, nominated for best supporting actor, actor and motion picture at this year’s Academy Awards, taking place March 2. - Voltage Pictures
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey star in Dallas Buyers Club, nominated for best supporting actor, actor and motion picture at this year’s Academy Awards, taking place March 2.
— image credit: Voltage Pictures

Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) was an electrician, part-time bull rider and hustler living in Dallas in 1985. A man of dangerous habits, as well as a practised homophobe, Woodroof disbelieved the doctors when they told him his health problems were being caused by AIDS. Within a few days he changed his mind.

The doctors gave him 30 days to live. He gave them the finger and went to Mexico to get treatment he wasn’t allowed to have at home.

A year later, Woodroof was smuggling that treatment, consisting of various drugs and supplements not approved by the FDA, into the U.S. to sell to members of his Buyers Club, who paid dues to have access to these non-approved substances, however, they weren’t necessarily buying them.

Woodroof continued fighting the system, legally and illegally, helping many people with AIDS for six more years before he died.

Dallas Buyers Club is the true, although somewhat dramatized story of a flawed and damaged man doing great work in a short amount of time.

We say, “Give them both an Oscar and a sandwich.”

HOWE: I’m not a huge fan of McConaughey. He’s made some real dollops in the past, but in Dallas Buyers Club, wow! Even if he didn’t lose all the weight for his role as Woodroof, he should still get the nod for the Oscar as his performance is pretty amazing.

Similar to Joaquin Phoenix a couple of years ago in The Master, McConaughey disappears into his character and you don’t realize you are watching him.

TAYLOR: Also knocking it out of the park and nominated for an Oscar is Jared Leto who plays Rayon, the entirely fictional transsexual friend and business partner of Woodroof.

Leto, who is choosey about his roles and hasn’t been in a film since 2009, is perhaps most remembered as the blonde from Fight Club who is severely beaten because Tyler Durden wants to “destroy something beautiful.” In DBC, Leto proves he’s an actor worth more than he weighs.

HOWE: Dallas Buyers Club isn’t one of those movies that is enjoyable, in a sense. It’s a sad, depressing and touching story all at the same time, dotted throughout with some lighter moments. Yet saying that, all three performances from the lead roles of Jennifer Garner, Leto and McConaughey are worth the price of admission alone. I, for one, will be watching it again.

TAYLOR: This is a beautiful, powerful, moving film with stellar performances and excellent acting, made with a very modest budget and directed by a Canadian, Jean-Marc Vallée. It deserves to be recognized as the best film of the year, as it probably was.

— Taylor gives it 5 condoms out of 5.

— Howe gives it 5 shotguns out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Vernon Towne Cinema.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers living in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, runs in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.

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