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I Feel Lucky

By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014.

30 years on and enough time has passed to do a major Hollywood feature on the HIV/AIDS crisis. We watch Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) find out at a library about the assocation between HIV and unprotected sex and realise how unprepared the US was for its ongoing onslaught. Thank god for Siimon Reynolds and his grim reaper's bowling ball. In Australia, from the day of the launch of the HIV/AIDS awareness advertising campaign in 1987 featuring Siimon Reynolds' work we knew unprotected sex meant death.

Matthew McConaughey has done some astonishing things in recents years. From his absolute commitment as Magic Mike in Steven Soderbergh's MAGIC MIKE" (2012) to Ron Woodroof a dramatisation of the founding of the "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB" (2014) his performances have become more extraordinary as he selects more challenging and out of stereotype roles, ie: not gorgeous beach bum or modern day Big Kahuna. Perhaps it's a function of age but more and more his name is an indicator of something interesting.

We meet Ron Woodroof as a vulgar no-one absent from his own life let alone health. He is as emaciated as Christian Bale's Trevor Reznik in Brad Anderson's "THE MACHINIST" (2004). After Ron insists on an

ambulance for an illegal, trapped under some machinery at work, he's knocked out by an electric shock and taken to hopsital. When he regains consciousness he is told he has a T Cell count of 9 and should be dead. Further investigation conducted while he was out revealed he had the faggots disease, HIV. He is given 30 days to live. And so our story ensues and the days are counted.

Jean-Marc Vallée's "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB" (2014) is a film about lives that are counted in months, about people for whom survival for any length of time is a triumph. It tells the story of the evil machinations of the F.D.A. in America, blocking treatments and causing fatalities, of the justice in freely available medications in Mexico, which save Ron's life. His tremendous sense of fair play kicks in as he begins importing large amounts of drugs for his, "personal use," and supplying the HIV community in... Dallas. In the end he and his accomplices, in first rate performances, thinking Jared Leto as Raymond/Rayon in particular, get around the law by forming the Buyer's Club, where members are supplied with drugs for free, in exchange for a $400 per month membership fee, but the law changes again.

Lovely reality checks through this film include: Ron & Rayon bumping into Tucker (Steve Zahn) at the

supermarket. Tucker evokes Ron as he was prior to his most recent spat of good work. We come to know Rayon (Jared Leto) and Ron as people and see them endure the shock of discrimination, including Dr. Eve (Jennifer Garner) for supporting the Dallas Buyer's Club's un-F.D.A.-approved medications. She is sacked. However, there are no hateful picketers, no personal denouncements made by anyone who isn't defined by them per say. Things are left in relation to their consequnces, the connection laid bare. It's left to a judge to pass judgement on the actions of organistions.

People die. Ron becomes someone he likes. It's a tremendous story and I'm glad to say, a brilliant and even handed treatment of the moral issues of the day including Ron's own bigotry. Weird about the feeling of waiting for a day in the past for this story to be told. 10/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

Jean-Marc Vallée's
Director Jean-Marc Vallée
Producers Robbie Brenner, Rachel Winter
Stars Matthew McConaughey (Lee Daniels' "THE PAPERBOY" (2012), Steven Soderbergh's "MAGIC MIKE" (2012)) in his Golden Globe nominated role, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Jennifer Garner (Peter Hedges' "THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN" (2012), Jason Winer's "ARTHUR" (2011)) and Jared Leto (Jaco Van Dormael's "MR NOBODY" (2009), J.P. Schaefer's "CHAPTER 27" (2007)) in his Golden Globe nominated role.
Release Date 13th February 2014
Category Biographical Drama
Running Time 117 minutes (1 hour, 57 minutes)
Rating MA15+
Origin USA
Coda No - oddly enough. Everyone dies.
Distributor Pinnacle Films
Official Blurb "An imperfect man fights for survival during an uncertain time in America. Inspired by true events, Ron Woodroof's story of strength is told in "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB", directed by Jean-Marc Vallée from an original screenplay by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey portrays the real-life character, whose self-interest is galvanized into something much more.

A son of Texas, Ron Woodroof is an electrician and rodeo cowboy. In 1985, he is well into an unexamined existence with a devil-may-care lifestyle. Suddenly, Ron is blindsided by being diagnosed as HIV positive and given 30 days to live. Yet he will not, and does not, accept a death sentence.

His crash course of research reveals a lack of approved treatments and medications in the U.S., so Ron crosses the border into Mexico. There, he learns about alternative treatments and begins smuggling them into

the U.S., challenging the medical and scientific community including his concerned physician, Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner)." - Pinnacle Films PR