Saturday, November 23, 2013
Supply And Demand In The Age of AIDS (Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club)
After seeing "Dallas Buyer's Club," I had an uneasy feeling. I couldn't really pinpoint why I didn't enjoy the movie. It was an interesting story, and I kind of liked Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's performances, but all in all, the movie fell flat for me. Then I remembered that a friend posted this article, an editorial from Huffington Post titled Not Buying Dallas Buyer's Club and it clicked why. Although it is pointed out in the movie that Ron Woodroff (McConaughey's character) got the buyer's club idea from a New York Times article, it just wasn't pointed out that there were a lot of people working towards the same goal. Yes, I know that this movie is about Woodroff, but I got this impression that he is one of a few people who was carrying on in the AIDS crusade when yes, I saw with my own eyes a lot of the AIDS activism in the early 90s. (I even once accidentally attended an ACT-UP meeting) But back to the movie: While I respect the fact that Hollywood is now embracing AIDS movies, I found the script to be predictable. You knew each turn the story would take, and Leto and Jennifer Garner's characters are thrown away to serve points in the story rather than enriching it. And yes, McConaughey gives a brave performance, but to me, it seems too calculated, as if he is begging for an Oscar. Leto fares better as the drag queen Rayon, but, again I felt it underwritten and weak. Garner annoyed the hell out of me - she had this expression in her face throughout the movie: you know, the one where she looks like she is scowling thinking of her next line. Perhaps I had high expectations. This got almost universally raves. I wanted to like it, but felt the film was hallow.