Dallas Buyers Club: It's this week's best buy

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comNovember 20, 2013 

Film-Toronto Preview

This publicity image released by the Toronto International Film Festival shows Matthew McConaughey in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club," a film being showcased at the Toronto International Film Festival. (AP Photo/Toronto International Film Festival)


Something changed in Matthew McConaughey. He stopped phoning in performances and bagged the pretty boy, rom-com roles. Killer Joe, Magic Mike and Mud were great career decisions and gave us a new view and a new appreciation for McConaughey's acting prowess.

When needed, the guy can knock it out of the park.

Add Dallas Buyers Club to the list of movie and acting award nominations at year's end. Based on a true story, McConaughey plays Ron Woodruff, an electrician, part-time bull rider and party animal. In 1985, he contracted AIDS. Woodruff is a racist and homophobe angered that his friends think he's gay.

At the time, the only AIDS treatment was the experimental drug AZT. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) hadn't certified it yet, so only select people were allowed the treatment. Woodruff, given 30 days to live, desperately wants the drug. Kept at bay by doctors, the resourceful Woodruff seeks other treatments, and they're successful. He starts importing them and selling them to others with AIDS to support his own treatment.

But that puts him at odds with the FDA and other government regulators who stop him at every turn. That, in turn, turns into a chess match of sorts. Winner takes all.

This is an intense, brilliantly acted and written drama featuring award-worthy performances from McConaughey, Jered Leto, who does a perfect and very beautiful cross-dresser, and Jennifer Garner, who wraps up the cast's known members as a Woodruff doctor ally.

Don't miss this one. Dallas Buyers Club is one of the year's best.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Jered Leto, Jennifer Garner

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated R for mature themes, language, sex. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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