Back to the reviews, and I PLAN (no guarantees as is life) to do more of these in the near future as a way of establishing things, and for the future return of the Radio show. I love all types of movies, but some of the best ones for me are the “Based on a True Story” ones that come out every year. This one is no different.
Dallas Buyers Club is a movie directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, based on the story of Ron Woodroof, who was the subject of a 1992 article in the Dallas Morning News written by Bill Minutaglio. It stars Matthew McConaughey as Woodroof, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. Now that we got those out of the way, lets get to the meat and potatoes of what it was about, and my feelings on it. WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOLLOW
The movie deals with Woodroof, an electrician/rodeo rider who is a party animal guy (this was the 80’s). Sex, drugs, and fun are what he is about, and those consequences are being diagnosed with HIV in 1985. This was during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and thoughts of how to contract, along with who the carriers of the virus were still limited. Basically in the eyes of the public it was only gay men who caught it, and it could be caught with even basic touching, or any other type of contact. We all know now that seems ridiculous in afterthought, but then, that’s were the public was. Gay Plague I believe was the term used for a lot of people to describe the epidemic. So understanding this mindset, it really helps to understand what Woodroof’s character was going through at the time. He was a straight man, who was very homophobic, and had friends who felt the same way, so when diagnosed he immediately becomes a pariah to his friends, along with having to accept it himself.
Woodroof is given only 30 days to live. His T Cell count at the time of being diagnosed was just 7 (normal, healthy humans have anywhere between 500-1300). So goes the process of accepting his fate, and trying to find ways to prolong the inevitable. At the time there were very few drugs that were being used to help combat HIV/AIDS or even keep the symptoms down, but one of those were AZT, an FDA approved drug that almost brings Woodroof to his death quickly as the side effects are as bad as the virus itself. Woodroof has connections though and makes a trip to Mexico to find drugs that are not on the FDA approved list, but have been proven helpful in other countries. Once he finds that these drugs help (and reaches past the 30 day sentence), Woodruff takes on the enterprise of smuggling said drugs across the border to sell to clients that are desperately looking for help or a cure as he is.
After reading articles in some magazines and papers, Woodroof creates the “Dallas Buyers Club” where the membership is 400.00 a month, but you will get access to the drugs in unlimited supply. It helps keep it from just drug selling for the moment, until new FDA regulations change the process US citizens are allowed to purchase medicine that isn’t approved, even in life or death situations. Along with his health, Woodroof’s attitude changes as well towards his homophobia and makes friends with some of the people he normally would never associate with. There is a lot of back and forth regarding issues with IRS, FDA, and court cases he has to deal with, but in the end Woodruff was able to take his 30 day death sentence and change it into 7 years.
The movie was well shot, well written and had some amazing portrayals by McConaughey, Leto and Garner. You get a real sense of the fear of having this and the will to just want to survive as long as possible. McConaughey does a great of explaining how he felt the situation was in his character by basically saying, there is no fixing this, I have it forever, I just want to feel comfortable and last as long as I can. In a way I learned a lot more about the struggles the sufferers of HIV/AIDS had to go through as well as the things they put themselves through medically in desperate need to find a cure, even if that meant potential drugs could cause more harm then good. I also got a real hatred toward the FDA as well has pharmaceutical companies and hospital heads that were willing to put killer drugs out there in an attempt to only line their pockets instead of helping.
I say all that without doing more research at this time of the drugs, what really was going on and such, but this movie has helped me to want to learn more, which I will. As far as any negatives about the film, once again it goes to the fact that this film tends to drag in certain areas, especially near the end. There also seemed to be some filler at times, like not needing to see any of the characters in a drug/alcoholic binge again for the 100th time. Other than that, this is a really good movie and should be watched.
My verdict? Go see it, catch it any way you can, but watch this movie. Then do some more research as I am going to do.