Nominated for six Academy Awards, Dallas Buyers Club is a biopic of a hard-drinking Texan electrician, who refused to passively accept that his HIV-positive diagnosis in the mid 1980s was a death sentence.
Instead, Ron Woodroof smuggled a cocktail of unapproved drugs into America in direct defiance of his physician, who believed clinical trials were the only way to combat the virus.
Woodroof established a club to sell medications to other HIV-positive patients but his actions drew the attention of police and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which at that time took eight to 12 years to approve a new drug.
Ron didn’t have time on his side - doctors expected him to be dead within a month - so he bent the rules to stay alive.
Dallas Buyers Club doesn’t sugar-coat a bitter pill. Woodroof isn’t portrayed as a flawless, morally robust hero. McConaughey is mesmerising, shedding 40 pounds to convincingly portray the emaciated sandy-haired hustler. Screenwriters Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack exercise some artistic licence but this does not detract from the emotional wallop of the film.