“Lemme give y’all a little news flash. There ain’t nothin’ out there can kill fuckin’ Ron Woodroof in 30 days.” – Ron Woodroof, Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
The most integral part of a biopic is that it should stick to the facts and that only. For me when it detracts, changes or moves away from major parts of the truth, I tend to lessen my enjoyment. This was most certainly the case for Dallas Buyers Club a film following Ron Woodroof and his battle with AIDs. Heavy hitting stuff, right? Well, it should have been, but it quite simply wasn’t for me. Not because the story didn’t intrigue me but because I didn’t enjoy the film itself.
Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), quite simply, is given thirty days to live when he lands himself in hospital after blacking out at work. Given his sudden life span shortage, he begins to research his illness and help those who have it too. Soon he meets with Rayon (Jared Leto), suffering the same illness as him, the two set up a business together. The Dallas Buyers Club, a way of helping those affected by an illness that doctors are not trying to cure. A supporting cast including Jennifer Garner, and Steve Zahn also features throughout.
Seeing Matthew McConaughey’s commitment to his role is truly commendable. Although I didn’t like the film or really the performance in general I did appreciate the commitment he had to the role. His opening to the film was fairly good and the overall feel of his performance was carried on throughout the film. Although I didn’t like the film as a whole I did in fact like the performance itself because of how good it was. It gets across the emotion of the character quite well and this doesn’t waver throughout. To put it more simply, I thought his performance in this film was worthy of the Oscar he won for it. Truly, I do. Sure, I didn’t like the film as a whole but I did enjoy his performance thoroughly.
The same cannot be said for Jared Leto, who gives a very boring performance in my opinion. It doesn’t help either that his character is completely fictional in every sense of the word. Rayon never existed, nor did Ron Woodroof ever meet anybody by that name, probably. Really my main problem is I am not a Jared Leto fan. He was terrible in Suicide Squad (2016) and he was terrible here too. The only good film I’ve seen him in so far is Lord of War (2005) and that was good because he wasn’t in it for very long.
Again though the same commitment to the performance as shown by McConaughey is shown. It’s not even a spoiler at this point but they kill off Leto’s character. Why isn’t that a spoiler? Because the character is fictional. They’re not going to have them knocking about for the grand finale are they.
Apparently the character was added to show how Ron eventually warmed to the LGBT community. Okay, that’s fine, but why not just show that? We do get scenes of that where he is given a house for free. So why not just have more of that and less of a fictional character? To me it detracts from the narrative, especially when fictional characters are a main part of the film.
As for the supporting cast, the guy that plays Greg’s dad in Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) is in this film and I’ve no clue why. More power to you Steve Zahn, keep breaking that stereotype. He’s actually sort of good in this film, as is the rest of the supporting cast. Jennifer Garner gives us the moral compass of this film throughout, attempting to portray how the medical field would feel about this. I can see the intention of this but to be honest it’s just not that noteworthy. Neither is Zahn’s performance considering how little of the film he’s actually in.
I’ll give credit where it is due though, if I find something to talk about in that regard. Everything in the film was just sort of pretty mediocre and amounted to nothing. I felt like I was watching two hours of nothing but filler. Actually, the film does attempt to start a competent philosophical look into the effects of placebo and how it’s all a big scam. But to be honest it was too little too late for me. This happens after I’ve sat through an hour of build up that wasn’t in any way engaging or interesting. We’re presented the struggle of ethics over economy through Jennifer Garner’s character fairly competently. Her performance does require some difficult scenes and she pulls it off well.
The cinematography of the film is pretty good also. Not the best I’ve seen but there were a few nice moments in there. It’s never a good sign when I can’t remember any of the soundtrack, it was fairly forgettable. As was the lighting and overall tone of the film if I’m honest. However towards the end there are a couple of interesting shots that provide us some great visuals. None really spring to mind as brilliant, but some are pretty good. That’s what this film is for me. Sure, it has some interesting points to it, but overall it’s just mediocre. There isn’t anything that’s fleshed out properly for me to get behind.
So given that description this should be very hard hitting stuff, right? Well, unfortunately there’s just something so lacking from this film as a whole. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters throughout, there was something that just lacked as a whole. Maybe it was the performances or the way it was shot, I honestly don’t know. I just didn’t resonate with this film and it will most likely be a mystery to me forever. Still, for those that are interested, here’s an Oscar winning film I thought was pretty mediocre.
Aside from Matthew McConaughey giving quite possibly the best performance of his career, there isn’t really anything for me in this film. Sure, you yourself may find this an interesting film, but there’s nothing for me in this film. Everything just blurs together, it’s a long and boring two hours. Jared Leto doesn’t help proceedings, given I don’t like his acting in general, it really doesn’t help the film in any way. Still, something is there in this film. A small, little spark that just wasn’t capitalised on for whatever reason.