Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

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Electrician, rodeo rider and hustler Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) believed that only homosexuals got AIDS and as he hated homosexuals he would never catch it. But after collapsing and ending up in hospital Ron discovers that his life of drug abuse and unprotected sex has left him not only with AIDS but according to a doctor with just 30 days to live. Refusing to accept this as well as refusing to accept that a drug called AZT which might extend his life not being available to him he heads down to Mexico where he meets a doctor who provides him with alternative medication which does the trick along with convincing him to focus on living clean. But as Ron finds himself trying to help others who are also left to die by the medical profession he finds himself up against a constant campaign to stop him.

That synopsis barely scratches the surface when it comes to "Dallas Buyers Club", another movie from 2013 which reminded me that the combination of story and acting can make a movie great rather than big budgets and effects. To put this in to context, when all those years ago "Philadelphia" came out and won praise for its acting and for tackling a tough subject matter, well "Dallas Buyers Club" does exactly the same and is on par with "Philadelphia" right down to Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's committed performances being up there with Tom Hanks'.

Jennifer Garner in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Now I said that my synopsis for "Dallas Buyers Club" barely scratches the surface and it doesn't because this is one of those wonderful movie which has a lot going on whilst predominantly revolving around Ron Woodroof. So we see how those who were once his friends turned on him after he was diagnosed as having AIDS and we see his bitterness towards them for doing so. We also see how whilst initially homophobic Ron ends up becoming close to Rayon, a HIV+ transgender woman and basically we witness Ron's persona evolve.

But the big thing about "Dallas Buyers Club" is that with that evolving persona we also have evolving motives and we see how initially Ron is trying to make money by bringing in untested medication from outside of America to ending up battling the FDA and doctors who try to prevent him offering this medication to other AIDs patients. It gives "Dallas Buyers Club" a bit of a David and Goliath style storyline as we have Ron being the small guy who is unafraid to take on the doctors and the FDA who back a high dose of a drug called AZT which was having detrimental effects at the time.

All of which comes together thanks to brilliant direction by Jean-Marc Vallée who does a marvellous job on a relatively small budget. But it is also the equally brilliant performances from Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto who both lost a lot of weight to effectively portray their characters. The thing is about their performances is that their characters are obviously very different but they both manage to make you champion them be it getting behind Ron when confronting an FDA agent or when Rayon has to deal with her terminal condition as her wayward side has taken its toll and you can sense that there is a bond between them.

What this all boils down to is that "Dallas Buyers Club" is one of those powerful movies which need to be watched to understand how good they are because words cannot do justice to either the storyline or the acting. What I will say is that whilst "Dallas Buyers Club" is a movie worth watching it is is graphic from scenes of sex and drug taking to the effects of HIV and AIDs on the human body which might be a struggle for some.