Film Review by Larry Murray
Dallas Buyers Club opens in theaters today.
It is a must-see.
In the early days of the AIDS crisis perhaps the only person angrier and more motivated than Larry Kramer of AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was the super macho, homophobic rodeo bull rider, con man, womanizer and substance abuser Ron Woodroof. The film Dallas Buyers Club has been criticized for not focusing on the gay elements, but that is because it is inspired by true events surrounding Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1986. He finds the AZT trials flawed, gets his own supply from Mexico and then overdoses on the toxic drug. He decides it is not the only answer, and in fact, not even a good one. (Back then they gave patients far too much of the stuff, actually destroying their immune system, rather than helping it.)
He then begins his search for alternative treatments. At first wary and contemptuous of anyone gay he refuses to attend self-help groups that proliferated in the early days of the disease. Eventually he teams up with a transvestite, Nylon (Jared Leto). Together they figured out a way to provide HIV-positive people the drugs that were illegal in the US. These were the terrible days of an FDA under Ronald Reagan and a AWOL medical-pharmaceutical cartel. Everyone seemed to drag their feet on allowing drugs proved hopeful elsewhere to be sold here.