REVIEW: McConaughey Rocks as Path Opening Whistle Blower

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
REVIEW: McConaughey Rocks as Path Opening Whistle Blower

Whistle blowers buck the system to expose inner mismanagement.  Ordinary people take on “city hall” when they find fundamental unfairness in government.  Terminally ill individuals challenge the status quo to add days, weeks, and maybe years to their life.

“Dallas Buyers Club”  captures an unlikely beer drinking Texas blue collar electrician , Ron Woodroof’s  (played by Matthew McConaughey) ,   plunged into denial desperation when a blood test reveals advanced HIV virus. Socked with a “get your affairs in order” diagnosis, Woodroff repels in disbelief  since, at the time,  HIV/AIDS was stereotyped as a gay men and women’s plague.

The lanky man had a heavy moustache holdover from  “disco” days cussed out the staff and took his ten gallon hat walking… shortly, to the library for research on this “mistake.”  Portrayed initially as close to a homophobe , his drinking, strip club, reckless  heterosexual  ‘casual sex,” plus shooting and snorting up places him diametrically opposed to the majority of infected patients.

Labeled with the throw away HIV stereotype, McConaughey characterizes Woodroff  as not a typical sufferer  and relentlessly tries  to disprove the death sentence through research, which reveal “treatments” other than those certified by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for prescription therapy.


McConaughey’s method acting styles quickly  splinter the obvious prejudicial sexual orientation matter, particularly a pub scene in which he resoundingly retorts a rumble then struts away. A second key scene during hospitalization awkwardly communicates  inclusion and an equality introduction.


A referral to Mexico demonstrates the viability of alternative options, which trigger ‘do not use’ U.S. health industry flags. Most of them were combinations of non-toxic, non-prescription minerals and vitamins. An Extreme case of regulatory measures countering common sense?  Perhaps, a reversal of the chemical in the water scenario where danger did not make the list?


As depicted by the best actor nominee, Woodroff converts  used car salesmanship skills into a capitalistic dream by skirting “for sale” prohibitions and instead giving the products away to members of his “club.”  Cash aside; he and the others just want to live longer.


An interview in the Daily Beast with a reporter who met the now deceased Woodroff suggest a tweaking of his sexual past i.e. Bill Minutaglio, a former Dallas Morning News reporter indicated the entrepreneur forgot to introduce his supportive girl friend. But that omission fails to dash the ambiguity.


“Woodroff was a businessman who needed customers—to fund his trips, to buy his disguises, to pay people off, to keep gas in his Lincoln, and to keep himself alive. There was no money coming from anywhere else.  I find it hard to imagine that he would be disparaging of his customers if they happened to be gay,” Minutaglio said. The dying man  skirted the law; the law stretched to unfairly prosecute him.


The methodology of “Dallas Buyers Club” has application (both congruent and the antithesis ) analytically to the Charleston chemical absorption  into the water plant. Where bureaucracy strangles the drug approval process due to financial interconnections between the pharmaceutical and medical establishment eludes common sense (why give a placebo to a terminally ill individual?) , a similar regulatory bungle overlooked the placement of an unlisted dangerous chemical compound a mile from municipal water intake valves.


Hesitatingly I would note the balance between morality and money that behooves the capitalistic scheme upon which democratic representation occurs. Hence,  corruption enters whether in  strictly regulated or  self-regulated environments.

And, amidst the new spillage black eye for the Mountain State, the physician of empathy and open-mindedness is played by WV’s own, Jennifer Garner.  Humm…..

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