Get ready for the unusual hustler ride with #dallasbuyersclub #review #film #movie

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Well it truly is Oscar season and if you haven’t had it yet then Oscar fever will well and take hold in only a matter of days. The frontrunner (in our view) in the acting categories (Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor) has to be Dallas Buyers Club. With Golden Globes well under their belts, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto set to storm the big kahuna and walk away with a couple of Oscar shaped statues.

So in light of all this awards commotion, we headed to meet the men themselves for the press conference last week. Now if you were expecting any Wolf of Wall Street chest beating antics, then we’re sorry to disappoint. Apart from Jared Leto praising Mr McConaughey and giving his own mini monologue about the tribal chest tappings, the focus was very much on Dallas Buyers Club and its incredible journey over many years to the silver screen.photo

Dallas Buyers Club is the story of Ron Woodruff. A man from Texas living a simple life as an electrician. He likes, women, drugs, drink and rodeos. That is what his life mainly revolves around. The turning point comes after a work accident where he ends up in hospital and finds out that he is HIV positive (which at the time had a huge stigma with homosexuality) and only 30 days to live. This story follows his battle to use any means possible to stay alive and it is fascinating.

Apart from the incredible dedication to the character where McCanaughey had lost an amazing 47lbs to play the part. Without his determination and sheer Texan will power this film would never have been made. The script for Dallas Buyers club has been passed from actor to actor and essentially lay dormant for around fifteen years until now. Even days before shooting McCanaughey must have used his rom-com charm and Magic Mike moves to get this production going because it very nearly halted with location and timing delays. Never the less, his star power prevailed and the set was up and running on time with immense focus from all the cast and crew in what seemed to be a very short space of time. The end result, well lets just say that boy was this film worth the wait.Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 12.42.26

The performances in Dallas Buyers Club are jaw-droppingly powerful. McCanaughey seizes the screen with his alpha male attitude and ego which out sizes his scrawny frame. We see his journey from “macho” Teaxan, to outright denial of his situation, to a new position of power as he not only tries an innovative way to help himself but other sufferers as well.  This is a very different performance to all the other Oscar nominees but it’s a brave performance which is very giving and totally absorbing, you end up fighting for Ron as much as he is, willing him to have that fairy tale ending where all is well, and are constantly on edge throughout pushing away the tears. Really powerful stuff.

We also see Jared Leto provide the counter balance as Rayon. The drag queen who’s vulnerability and desperation to live rather than die at the end pulls strongly on audience members heart strings. This subject topic is about desperation and will to survive, and the highly quoted line from Rayon of “a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do” speaks volumes to this. Leto’s transformation is equally as impressive if not as shocking. He managed to get kudos from the gay community on his performance and managed to win the role by chatting up the director via skype! Even though he hasn’t seen the film, its easy to say that you can’t help but love Rayon and the way that he plays the character is with such a natural charisma that you can’t help but think he’s done this before!

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Finally in the supporting role as a sympathetic doctor (Eve), Jennifer Garner also helps us understand another side to this ongoing battle against HIV. The inner hospital politics are very much the same today as they were in the 1980’s and although drug advancements have happened, there are still the same old problems of getting certain medicines to market.

Overall this film is another important watch, which is why it has been heralded throughout the award season. It is a talking point, a simply made movie with great characters, with a lot of thought, heart and fact which have been too controversial to put on to screen in previous outtings, its honest and insightful and we should all be glad that it has been made as it really does open your eyes to this disease and the stigma attached to it.

Well acted, well shot and engaging to watch. Definitely something to catch at the cinema when you can.

4 Stars

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The deep dark world of Human Trafficking depicted in our film of the week – Eden #EdentheFilm2013

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Based on a true story, Eden follows a young Korean-American girl, who in 1994 was abducted and forced into prostitution by domestic human traffickers, as time passes she realizes that her only way to survive is to join forces with her captors.

A compelling watch, Eden is the kind of unexpected hit that you find yourself unable to pause and return to – it has to be watched from start to finish in one sitting. The reason, well, you spend the first half of this film trying to work out just what is going on, as you begin to go on this hellish journey with Hyun Jae (Jamie Chung). The fact that this is a true story makes it all the more grisly.

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 09.33.00Cleverly you are sheltered from any graphic detail in terms of what the girls actually do when they’re brought to various parties, nightclubs and pornography film sets. Instead you are a second pair of eyes for Hyun Jae, figuring out as she is, what is going on, why she’s here being held in a 10 x 10 storage unit and what her fateful future holds. What is brilliant about this film is that you really don’t know who to trust, and that there are twists and turns at every opportunity. The film really doesn’t turn out how you expect it to, and you are playing a complicated guessing game at every throughout.

The cast is solid and led by an impressive Jamie Chung who carries the film with ease. She plays both the innocent and later the intelligent influencer very well and provides a stark contrast to not only her capturers but also the other girls kept in confinement with her, some of which have grown accustomed to this way of life and begin to play the game for what it is.Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 09.32.10

Supporting Chung are Beau Bridges who plays Bob Gault, a ruthless and corrupt Federall Marshal who runs the organization with little mercy; and Matt O’Leary who plays the troubled Vaughan, who’s past and wrong life choices have led him to this destination. All of the characters have their distinct traits which you can identify with and pin point straight away. Bob Gault requests no sympathy from the audience, he runs this operation under the façade of a pillar of the community and underneath it all profits unremorsefully on the actions of the girls.  Vaughan has moments in which he battles with his conscience over what he’s doing and you can immediately spot his vulnerability, as does Hyun Jae, which keeps you gunning for our female lead as she patiently figures out how to get the better of those who keep her.

Full of suspense and intrigue, Eden is a highly watchable film with notable performances and a gripping storyline. A thriller from start to finish and well worth a watch when it comes out in cinemas on the 19th July