February 22, 2014

One in a million


Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2013). The coincidence of two AIDS films in 12 months (this and Behind the Candelabra), a full two decades after Derek Jarman’s Blue, among others, is partly about Hollywood’s delays and caution. The subject of Dallas Buyers Club, Ron Woodroff, died 18 months before Jarman and the newspaper story that inspired the film appeared in the Dallas Morning News just ahead of his death in 1992. Maybe it just waited for the right people at the right time: Matthew McConaughey, hunger artist, and French-Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallee (the less realist C.R.A.Z.Y) working with a tiny crew on a quick shoot. Arguably, it’s almost television-age cinema, or commercial cinema made possible by television’s recent broadening of subject matter and exploration of less typically heroic or generic characters. Another difficult man.