The second you see Matthew McConaughey’s gaunt visage in Dallas Buyers Club, you know you’re in for a gritty movie, but this one is more intriguing that most: In the film, he plays Ron Woodruff, a real-life “drug-taking, woman-loving, homophobic man” who is diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live. After AZT treatments bring him even closer to death, he begins smuggling non-toxic, antiviral medications in from around the world, and — with the eventual help of his doctor (played by Jennifer Garner) and a transsexual woman named Rayon (Jared Leto) — inadvertently starts a smuggling ring for HIV patients who choose to forgo hospitals in favor of Woodruff’s U.S.-illegal remedies. The FDA and pharmaceutical companies wage a war on Woodruff, who went on to survive 2,191 days with HIV until he died in 1992.
Not your everyday caper. Rayon’s lover is played by the psychedelic band Deerhunter’s lead singer Bradford Cox, one of the more underrated loose-lipped (and sometimes queer?) figures in rock. What stands out to me so far in this trailer is the quality of the performances: McConaughey and Leto are both very intriguing, giving performances that at least exude real personality. We could bemoan the lack of outright gayness in this movie, but I’ll save that potential complaint until I see the actual movie. Dallas Buyers Club premieres at TIFF this month and comes out nationwide November 1.