Matthew McConaughey joins the elite league of actors who have shed morbid amounts of weight to define the role’s they are depicting: Christian Bale “The Machinest” Michael Fassbender, “Hunger”, contemporaries; three men, young enough to replenish what they sacrificed in months of scary, voluntary anorexia.
Matthew McConaughey, as nonfictional “Ron Woodroof”: raunchy, alcoholic, drug- addicted, heterosexual; diagnosed HIV positive in 1985, gives a performance, agonizingly, profoundly sincere, torturously realistic; indubitably, the finest of his career. I have always been a fan of McConaughey’s, with his melodious Texas drawl, stunning handsomeness; exhibiting amazing prescience in character selection; he’s had some duds “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” , “Sahara”, but his latest portrayals have been galvanizing, overwhelmingly prodigious: “Magic Mike”, “Killer Joe”, “Mud” have pole-vaulted him into the rarefied category of “thespian greats”.
“Ron”, homophobic, electrician, bronco -busting cowboy; after confounding disbelief, recognizes the legitimacy of his illness, takes control of his own health care; finding legal, nontoxic drugs in Mexico, banned by the FDA, he orchestrates his own “Club” where he smuggles the meds, and distributes them, free of charge to “members” of the “Dallas Buyers Club” ( all euphemistically named after the Dallas Cowboys: football players). He partners with “Rayon” (aka Raymond) a transvite (assiduous, brilliant performance by Jared Leto), whose AIDS has lethally progressed, imbuing an urgency to their blossoming business; their gradual friendship, grudging respect, gift mettle, irony, humor: the nucleus, core of the film.
The “Dallas Buyers Club” keenly illuminates the emotional chaos, extreme ignorance, acute fear of those struck with AIDS, in the embryonic years of initiation; highly experimental cures, devastating consequences; McConaughey and Leto infuse the crisis with personality, histrionics, viability; potently effective, painful and enlightening to view.