Dallas Buyers Club, Blu-ray (2014)

Dallas Buyers Club, Blu-ray (2014)

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner
Studio: Focus Features/Universal (2/4/14) 2-disc set with Blu-ray & DVD & Ultraviolet Digital HD
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, DD 5.1
Subtitles: Spanish, English DSH
All regions
Extras: Deleted scenes, “A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club”
Length: 1 hr. 57 min.
Rating: ****1/2 

A number of feature films have been released lately which are based on a true story, and this is another. The big item here has been the transformation of the beefed-up McConaughey into a frail and gaunt guy to play the homophobic Texan rodeo person heavily into drugs who finds against seemingly all logic that he is HIV positive and gets AIDS. He lost 40 lbs. for the role.

He is clearly sick and given only 30 days to live by the doctor. He absolutely refuses to accept his fate, and learns that the FDA is only allowing drug (AZT) to be used, and that only in hospital trials that involve half the patients getting a placebo. Determined to survive, he first bribes a hospital orderly to get the AZT, then when that is squashed he eventually obtains alternative drugs in Mexico. There he learns that the large doses of AZT are actually harmful and is given other less toxic meds by a caring doctor. He begins to sell these to gay men, though he is initially terribly homophobic. He eventually ends up with a cross-gender partner played by Leto, and to try to get away from constant harassment by the government he establishes the Buyers Club, charging patients a flat $400 and then giving them free drugs they need. He begins to get support from the gay community in his efforts to track down treatments that work, whether legal or illegal. One gay couple even gives him a house for his growing enterprise.

He turns things around as far as drug-taking and healthful foods, though he still drinks. He even scolds his partner for getting groceries with corporate chemical additives. He sometimes carries an IV on a stand around with him and at other times not; this is never explained. It’s not a pleasant film to watch, but the true story of Ron Woodruff is quite amazing, and McConaughey certainly does a terrific job portraying the role, and do everyone else in the film. Jennifer Garner is also good as the at-first resistant doctor and finally the compassionate colleague.

—John Sunier

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