Ron Woodroof is a hard-talking, over-sexed cowboy / electrician in 1980s Dallas. His distaste for mainstream medicine and doctors is evident when he is diagnosed with AIDS. He searches for illegal drugs that could help people suffering from the same predicament as him.
This gained a lot of recognition at various film awards. It has a lot of weight behind it, really. While it is not my ultimate favourite film, I can see why it was so lauded. A cure for HIV / AIDS is something which is probably a distant dream, but this film probably pushes that dream and makes it real. Woodroof was a beacon of hope for many AIDS sufferers. He is an unlikely hero.
The film is gritty and has a rather seamy edge to it. McConaughey is eerily superb despite his inherent unlikeability as a protagonist. He isn’t the dashing Adonis of many other films. He is just an ill, dying man fighting the system and trying to find an alternative to the death sentence he has been served due to his AIDS diagnosis.
Jared Leto returned to acting after a five year hiatus with this film. It shows that he has returned to the fore triumphantly. He plays the role of Rayon, a transgender woman who works with Ron to get the drugs to the ‘Buyer’s Club’ of HIV+ patients. His role has the air of somewhat being a bit improvised at times but that adds to the charm. Leto has such a transformation visually and vocally, its just as if he was born to be Rayon. Both Leto and McConaughey went through extreme physical changes to achieve their appearance for the film. That has to be lauded.
For one thing, this movie also explores the pervasive attitudes people (families too) have towards transgender women, as well as AIDS in general. It really is stark and thought-provoking.
MY RATING: **** / *****