Film Capsule: Dallas Buyers Club

Here is a list of the movies Matthew McConaughey has absolutely kicked ass in over the past two years: The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Mud and Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey is also expected to kick ass in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street (slated for release on Christmas), as well as the highly-anticipated HBO drama, True Detective (slated to premiere this coming January). The point being, Matthew McConaughey, previously known as a rom-com lothario, is currently on a roll the likes of which most actors never see.

In a recent Hollywood Reporter roundtable, the 44-year old McConaughey all but admitted he was, in fact, approached with an offer for upwards of $50 million regarding the lead role in a remake of Magnum, P.I. The justification for turning that offer down, according to McConaughey: “It wasn’t an offensive moment. I said no to some things, at first. Then I looked around and said, ‘I’m payin’ rent, the kids are good, we got a son comin’ into the world, that’s a good thing, that’s a great job, let me do that for a while, let me sit in the shadows for a while on the career side.’ And then, as the world works, some other things started attracting me. I guess I became a good idea to some people for things that I didn’t seem like a good idea for before.”

As we now know, that ensuing string of “good ideas” proved absolutely fortuitous, springboarding McConaughey from several worthwhile roles into great ones – dark, edgy, salacious and mean. To wit: In Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a real-life HIV patient who bucked the odds, the system, and perhaps even the gods, stretching a 30-day death sentence into a seven-year crusade. McConaughey’s performance appears almost seamless, requiring an uncompromising commitment in the form of full mustache, fake accent and 50 pounds worth of weight loss – one part Gary Gilmore, two parts redneck prick.

More than anything else, Dallas Buyers Club serves as a parable, exposing a great deal of the pig-fucking that goes on between the FDA and the pharmaceutical lobby. Jean Marc Vallee’s direction feels relentless, providing very little in the way of release. That said, Dallas Buyers Club is a story that deserves to be told, highly indicative of the notion there are movies we want and movies we need, and it’s usually the latter that helps promote change.

(Dallas Buyers Club is currently open in limited release.)