Dallas Buyers Club (15)
by Jean Marc Vallee
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner
From 7th February 2014
Positive Action from The Bottom Up
Not exactly a shrinking violet, trailer trash living Ron Woodruff (McConaughey)
blazes onto the screen in a threesome behind the safety bars of a bull
riding fiesta in redneck 1986 America. A carefree electrician at an oil-rig
complex, and backstreet bookie on the side, he goes to hospital after
an incident and comes out an altered man. His life changes dramatically
when a blood test proves HIV+ and the disbelieving cowboy is given a month
Heavy bouts of booze and cocaine are his initial safety valve as he weighs
up his predicament. The hospital can only offer useless palliative care
or a lenghy double blind trial on the drug AZT, at a cost. Without knowing
whether he is on the medication or it's sugary placebo the efficacy of
this sees him signing himself out.
He reads up on recent medical advances and becomes aware that breakthroughs
have been made out with the American drugs cartel; but these have not
been sanctioned for use by the American Food and Drugs Agency (FDA).
What to do?
He travels to Mexico after underhand shenanigans with a dodgy orderly
ends a brief supply of AZT. There his condition improves under a struck-off
doctor, who manages his symptoms with groundbreaking drugs and organic
compounds that see him alive six months later.
A supply chain is set up, (with state agencies on it's tail), but they
are unable to prevent Ron from setting up his Buyers Club. Via a ruthlessly
observed membership of $400 dollars a month, he provides his imports to
heterosexual and gay sufferers alike. A lucrative and zero tolerance operation,
he is assisted in this enterprise by a next bed ex-hospital transvestite
patient, Rayon, brazenly played by Jared Leto.
As Ron deserts, and is snubbed with equal disdain by his once homophobic
hangouts and friends, his lawyer keeps him out of trouble, just, while
he flies the world for new supply outlets. However, when it becomes a
criminal offence to use non FDA approved substances, it all has to come
to a head in a State Court case.
This is not an easy or a nice watch. The darkest impulses of the human
condition and the deadening hand of uninterested authority and medical
ethics are also at the centre of this portrayal of a true story; but truth
and compassion can shine through as with Doctor Eve Saks, (Garner).
History moves on, but McConaughey should get some recognition for the
way he delivered his part in Director Vallee's take on this seminal story.