It’s official, Matthew Mcconaughey’s days as an up-and-coming, comedy actor are over. Mud and Dallas Buyer’s Club have seen to that, with what looks like a sterling performance in True Detectives coming in January to boot. But it’s the 44-year-old’s performance as Ron Woodruff that has the critic’s heads in a spin.
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.
Woodruff was a cowboy unfamiliar with the quieter side of life. Always living as he pleased, his stormy existence came into serious doubt when he was given 30 days to live after being diagnosed with the AIDs virus - a death sentence in the 80s, when the film is set.
But instead of lying down and dying, Ron decides to search out the ‘unapproved’ drugs banned by the American government. And seeing a marked improvement in his health, the Dallas Buyers Club was born, giving others the same chance of survival. Of course, the powers that be weren’t enamored with his activities.
"McConaughey delivers the performance of his career, characterized not just by an astonishing physical transformation but by a wellspring of deep compassion and fearlessness," said The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday.
"Once we get past McConaughey's stunning transformation, we're transfixed by a performance that reminds us of why this guy became a movie star in the first place," said Richard Roeper.
The New York Post's Lou Lumenick was also impressed: "It's a remarkable story, vividly and urgently told by French-Canadian director Vallée from a pointed, schmaltz-free script by Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack," he enthused.
Matthew McConaughey stars in Dallas Buyers Club.
"Matthew McConaughey brings a jolt of unpredictable energy to "Dallas Buyers Club," an affecting if conventional real-life story of medical activism," added A.O. Scott of the New York Times.
Rotten Tomatoes have done all the hard work for us, totting up Buyers Club’s reviews to the tune of an impressive score of 94%, which leaves it up there with this year’s other Oscar contenders: Gravity (97%), 12 Years a Slave (97%) and Captain Phillips (94%).
If McConaughey’s Woodruff had come at any other time, we’d expect to see him pick up Best Actor, but considering the hype surrounding Chitiwel Ejiofor’s 12 Year’s performance as Solomon Northrup, it looks as the British actor will take the gong. Don’t be surprised to see Jared Leto pick up a Supporting award for Rayon, though.
Watch the trailer for Dallas Buyers Club