When you were watching the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street - director Martin Scorsese's latest collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio - you might have noticed that it featured Matthew McConaughey, who looked gaunter in the face than usual. That's because the latter worked on Scorsese's 1990s Wall Street biopic around the same time that he'd lost 38 pounds, in order to portray real-life modern Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof in the film Dallas Buyers Club.
McConaughey's on a hot streak right now, career-wise, following his performances in films like The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Magic Mike, Killer Joe and most recently, Mud (read our review). However, his turn in Dallas Buyers Club has the stronger chance of snagging him awards season recognition this year, given the issues that are touched upon and explored in the film (see: the 1980s AIDS epidemic, health care system problems, prejudice against the LGBT community, etc.).
Here is the official synopsis for Dallas Buyers Club:
Matthew McConaughey stars in "Dallas Buyers Club" as real-life Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof, whose free-wheeling life was overturned in 1985 when he was diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. These were the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and the U.S. was divided over how to combat the virus. Ron, now shunned and ostracized by many of his old friends, and bereft of government-approved effective medicines, decided to take matters in his own hands, tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. Bypassing the establishment, the entrepreneurial Woodroof joined forces with an unlikely band of renegades and outcasts - who he once would have shunned - and established a hugely successful “buyers’ club.” Their shared struggle for dignity and acceptance is a uniquely American story of the transformative power of resilience.
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The Dallas Buyers Club trailer is primarily a showcase for McConaughey's physical transformation and charismatic performance as the film's protagonist (a trouble-maker-turned Robin Hood to the outcasts of society). However, the footage also includes brief glimpses at supporting players like Jennifer Garner, Steve Zahn and Jared Leto - in his first role in four years - having shed 30 pounds to portray an HIV-stricken transexual.
Suffice it to say, if McConaughey and Leto are as committed in bringing the emotional components and personalities of their characters alive in Dallas Buyers Club - as they were the physical side - then both actors could be gaining some major Oscar buzz over the forthcoming months.
On the opposite side of the camera, Dallas Buyers Club was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria), who drew from a script written by relative-newcomer Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack (Mirror Mirror). As was mentioned before, the film ought to feature another engaging performance from McConaughey, who could bring real depth and richness to the Woodroof character (the same for Leto in his supporting role) - hopefully, the movie around them is equally impressive.
What are your early impressions of the performances in Dallas Buyers Club, based on the trailer? Does this film look like a moving dramedy based on a incredible true story - or contrived Oscar bait?
Dallas Buyers Club opens in U.S. theaters on November 1st, 2013.