Loosely based on the life tale of accidental activist Ron Woodroof, a drug-taking, womanising, homophobic man who when diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live, smuggled in treatment from all over the world and provided fellow patients with the alternative treatment.
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An overall good effort from the talented Vallée, with beautiful moments of cinematography, great production design, and very engaging performances. Despite this, it failed to really move beyond the surface of the story. The pharmaceutical issues were never expanded, the growing compassion in Woodruff's character was never fully recognized, and some gaps in the story are just too massive to remain unexplained.
On second viewing its still the authenticity and commitment in performance from actors McConaughey and Leto that make this something special. What's surprising from a director of the caliber of Vallee is the number of gaffs in its timeline in turns of product placements and availability of technology not to mention medical references that take place too early in the history of the disease. A small quibble perhaps.
A splendid cinematic indictment against some of the most toxic criminal organizations on the planet: the FDA, the Big Pharma complex, and the American Health Care Industry. The idea that a single man could fight - let alone beat - these abominations of neoliberalism is simultaneously naive and uplifting. I hope Vallee' will now consider a movie about the Cancer Drug Racket: http://tinyurl.com/o676tp3
Fantastic story of tragic non-conformism lead by exceptional performances from McConaughey and Leto. The movie never falls into cheap sentimentalism, and barely has a soundtrack, which makes it raw as shit.
I liked it. Good acting (Leto, especially), competent filmmaking, great editing, nice colours. Gave it 4 stars instead of 3 because it made me respect three actores I deeply despised before watching it.
Each moment is underlined: this is how you know someone is bad, this is how you know someone has changed, this is how you know what the message is, etc., until it's a film that promises to do your thinking for you and then fumbles the job. Everything you need to know about its contradictions is there in the opening credits, with the logo of a production company called "Truth Entertainment". 2.5 out of 5 stars.