Trending
MOST READ
Modern Roots at the First Moonamp Music Festival

Modern Roots at the First Moonamp Music Festival

Music: This Saturday at the Sunken Garden Theater, you can usher in the fall feels with a rousing round of roots rock, alt-country and Americana-leaning performances... By James Courtney 9/24/2014
Carmens Launches Kickstarter as Brooklynite Rakes in Votes

Carmens Launches Kickstarter as Brooklynite Rakes in Votes

Food & Drink: If you’ve been missing Carmens de la Calle since it closed its doors at 720 E Mistletoe early this year, then you can help speed the reopening process... By Jessica Elizarraras 9/24/2014
Sheets of Sound: Santana at the Tobin

Sheets of Sound: Santana at the Tobin

Music: A self-serving guitar solo is the near equivalent of musical masturbation, requested only by that drunk guy at the bar who also asked three times... By Alejandra Ramirez 9/24/2014
Value Vino: Giving Cru Beau some love

Value Vino: Giving Cru Beau some love

Food & Drink: First, a warning: Beware the ides of…November. No, not March. In the Roman calendar, the ides marked the approximate middle of any month, and as... By Ron Bechtol 9/24/2014
Alamo City Comic Con Elevated by Mainstream Acceptance of Geekdom

Alamo City Comic Con Elevated by Mainstream Acceptance of Geekdom

Arts & Culture: Credit the horde of Marvel blockbusters that have hit the theaters in recent years or the fostering of online communities amongst fanboys and girls to the... By Kiko Martínez 9/24/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens

‘Dallas Buyers Club’: Juicy for McConaughey, thin for LGBT

Photo: Courtesy Photo, License: N/A

Courtesy Photo

Rayon (Jared Leto) is not exactly thrilled with Ron (Matthew McConaughey) either.


Unfortunately, the drugs aren't approved in the U.S. Smelling both personal salvation and a unique business opportunity, he starts smuggling his unauthorized AIDS drugs into Dallas.

But how does a casual bigot earn the trust of the local gay community? Enter Rayon (Jared Leto), a street-smart HIV-positive transgender junkie. Ron reluctantly takes her on as his business partner, unaware that the virus that threatens his life is also now reshaping his worldview. What begins as a cynical survival and business tactic gradually becomes the kind of personal crusade that attracts Hollywood adaptations. Add to the mix that Ron is forced to perform an end run around hostile FDA agents and their entrenched support of the pharmaceutical industry by creating a members-only subscription service for afflicted clients, and you've got the makings of an Oscar-nominated drama.

At first,Vallée keeps the sentimentalism at bay, opting for a raggedy, matter-of-fact portrait of his highly flawed and accidental crusaders. Neither character is generous by nature, each angling for what serves their interests best. While the film's message of activism and tolerance is inevitable, it rarely compromises Woodroof's shrewd pragmatism for self-important posturing. Instead, it suggests that Ron's acceptance of the LGBT community was born from daily interactions rather than some hackneyed life-changing epiphany. Better still, his unlikely friendship with Leto's self-destructive Rayon is presented as bristly and complicated. Both actors are in especially fine form, bringing their characters' complex relationship with illness to vivid life. (The less said of Garner's unnecessary and ineffectual doctor character, the better).

But as the movie clumsily enters its homestretch, the temptation to turn rebellious Ron into a heartstring-tugging heterosexual hero of AIDS activism becomes too much for screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack to resist. For all the subtlety and substance given to its two leads, Dallas Buyers Club makes the unfortunate mistake of casting the gay community as anonymous extras in their own struggle (much as Spielberg did to the Jews in Schindler's List). Other than Rayon, you'll be hard-pressed to identify another homosexual character. Only Vallée's deft direction and insistent focus on the resolve of its complicated outcasts keeps things grounded, reminding audiences that sometimes it is the desperate and despised who fight hardest to balance the scales of justice.

Dallas Buyers Club

Dir. Jean-Marc Vallée; writ. Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack; feat. Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto (R)
Opens November 14 at Santikos Bijou

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus