“Mr Woodroof, I’m afraid that you’re nothing more than a common drug dealer, so if you’ll excuse us…”
– Richard Barkley
In 1985 Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with AIDS after getting shocked at his job. As an electrician and rodeo cowboy he refuses to believe the madness that he has thirty days to live. He is not homosexual and thus cannot be carrying such a heinous disease. Marching out he goes to do more research, and eventually connects the dots and recalls a prostitute he had unprotected sex with years ago. He is going to have to find a way to make things work. As though it is not bad enough that he has the news he has, it soon goes around and he is rejected by society, family and friends. It reaches as far as his job, where he is ultimately fired. The injustice burns him, and soon he also has nowhere to stay. More research leads Woodroof to the information on zidovudine (AZT), which is supposed to prolong the life of AIDS patients. He demands that Dr Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) gives him some, and even offers to pay. She tells him it does not work like that. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only just approved it for human testing, and half the patients are getting the real thing and the other half are getting placebos, nobody knows.
Refusing to accept that answer, he brokers a deal with a hospital staff member to trade cash for stolen AZT. Upon taking the AZT, Woodroof’s health worsens. This is not helped due to the fact of his cocaine use, and ultimately he ends up in the hospital again. His doctor, Dr Sevard (Denis O’Hare), demands to know where he is getting the illegal AZT. Woodroof refuses to share the information. While inside the hospital, he meets Rayon (Jared Leto), a transvestite and drug addict. He does not like Rayon, and treats her badly. Ultimately Woodroof goes out to Mexico to get more AZT and is instead treated by Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne), who tells him AZT is poisonous and prescribes ddC and peptide T, not approved in the US. Woodroof decides to use this to make money in the States and help other HIV-positive patients. He takes massive amounts back to the States with him and eventually gets Rayon on board with him to sell the drugs. Dr Saks is starting to notice negative effects from the AZT, and is told to let it go, it will not be discontinued. Woodroof is still alive, much longer than the doctors gave him credit for, so what Dr Vass gave him must be good.
Deciding ultimately that there is a more legit way to sell the drugs, Woodroof establishes the “Dallas Buyers Club”, where members pay $400-00 a month for their medication, as much as they need. The Club becomes so extremely. Rayon and Woodroof have come to an understanding, and Woodroof begins to respect her and understand her, and they develop a rather good friendship. After Woodroof lands up in hospital from a heart attack, Dr Sevard realises that all his AZT patients have moved over to the Dallas Buyers Club, and he is furious. Soon the FDA, too, gets involved with hassling Woodroof about his business and how he goes about it. Dr Saks and Woodroof establish a friendship when she sees that what he is doing is not a bad thing, and agrees that AZT is a problem. The more Woodroof works his Club, the more he learns about his disease as well as what is going on with it. The Club is starting to suffer at the hands of the FDA, and ultimately starts going bankrupt. Woodroof decides he will not let the FDA win.
Will Woodroof and Saks be able to prove that AZT is dangerous? How long does Woodroof have before he finally succumbs to AIDS? How is he going to stand up against the FDA, which is harassing?
A 7.5/10 for Dallas Buyers Club. I know that is not what most were expecting, but there it is. I did enjoy the movie, it was very dramatic and well put together. Matthew McConaughey did a very good job portraying Ron Woodroof. I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Leto as Rayon. I heard so many good things about his role, and I must say that he did exceptionally well, and was the one character that I liked from the off. McConaughey did well in taking Woodroof from a totally unlikable tool to someone we rooted for, he made huge changes in his life. I am not sure how accurate the story that we watched is in comparison to the real deal, and I have also not read into it too much, but I must say that it kept me interested the whole way through. While not an awfully long movie (coming in at just under two hours), it felt really long, but not like I was wasting my time. I honestly feel that the characters carried this story far more than the story or plot development itself, which was extremely secondary in my opinion. I liked the way social issues were addressed in this movie, as well as how people can change and see things differently when something changes in their lives, it is excellent. There were bits that made me laugh and there were other scenes that made me angry. I liked the friendship that developed between Woodroof and Dr Saks, that was pretty cool, though I loved the friendship between Woodroof and Rayon. This was a solid film though and worth checking out.