The Movie: 9/10
Every movie I watch inevitability settles into a place on the satisfaction scale. It can be a movie that’s totally wacky and weird and most people think is total crap, but it is super satisfying in some way. A movie like Dallas Buyers Club is a serious glimpse into a time in our history when AIDS became known and part of our collective consciousness. We are treated to some light-hearted moments, and Matthew McConaughey delivers a performance that only sparingly has any gravity to him at all. It was 1986, he was a rodeo circuit cowboy, screwing everything that walked, drinking, doing drugs, living it up. Suddenly he is told he has AIDS, and he has 30 days to live, but this is not something this guy is willing or able to accept.
He and his friends reflect a lot of the fears, the ignorance, the mystery that was surrounding AIDS at the time. We are witness to him being rejected, his life throwing him away, all because of the fear around what people thought about the disease at the time. A man who is a loud, obnoxious, a womanizer, drug user, heavy drinker, and everything else you might see as clues to someone who hates life, or wants to just let his life kill him one drink and dangerous ride on bull at a time, but when he finds out his life is going to end from something specifically he can’t accept it.
He might not seem clever, and I don’t know about the real man behind the story, but they portray him as a very clever business man. He’s got some greed, but with a hint of compassion mixed in. He didn’t set out to save a bunch of people, or make the AIDS drug industry’s evils public knowledge, but through wanting to make some cash, save his own life, and the nature of who he was, he did just that. He was up against the Food and Drug Association and the huge corporation that was manufacturing AZT and their plan to test their drug, get it approved, and make billions from the suffering people around the world. He found more healthy ways to maintain his quality of life, vitamins, pep-tides, proteins, being more healthy (even though he kept drinking A LOT). The problem was that some of the individual things he wanted to put in his body were not approved, not legal in the US as medicine. This story told me more about a person’s drive to stay alive, make a point, be a rebel, and eventually even help other humans, but not a Gandhi type guy, just a guy.
The cast is amazing, as I’m sure you have heard. I am not a Jennifer Garner fan, but she is really good in this role. She’s controlled and dignified as the doctor who might become an ally in his mission. Jared Leto is, well, I was convinced he was that character, not just an actor portraying the broken and colorful Rayon. An excellent cast telling a very touching story makes a movie so much more satisfying. Dallas Buyers Club has that magic touch. It’s not big and loud or epic. It’s got all the right elements to make me admit that for once I agree with a quote on the box, “Impossible to forget.” I agree.
- Deleted Scenes – A couple of deleted scenes from the movie, nothing that shouldn’t have been deleted.
- A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club – “McConaughey” walks you through what is essentially the trailer for the movie, this really isn’t a special feature at all you could learn way more about the movie online.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
I appreciate the movie and its story as a serious look at a chapter in our history when AIDS became part of our conscientiousness. That being said, this cover is kind of boring, if not functional. I wouldn’t have it as a poster. I would rather have seen just our leading man in the middle in all his method acting glory and left everything else off. I know, I know, the other stars of the movie need to be seen, but not really. The menu is just navigation, as is usually the case these days.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Universal are gearing up for the Oscar season in style bringing Dallas Buyers Club home before the awards actually hit. Unfortunately that means the special features are lacking but at least we all get to see the movie ahead of the ceremony. The 1080P AVC encode is impeccable with superb black levels and a subdued palette (why do all movies set in the 70’s or 80’s have a subdued palette?). Fine detail is impressive and I saw no instances of DNR or black crush.
Audio is provided using the DTS-HD Master Audio codec. The soundtrack here is barren and sparse with not much music or surround sound activity. Dialog though which makes up most of the movie is centered and very accurate. When the LFE speaker does kick in it’s usually when a car engine or shotgun is fired, it’s impressive but restrained at the same time.
Overall Score 9/10