From losing 20kgs for the leading role to having 30 Seconds To Mars front-man Jared Leto play a transgender supporting character, Dallas Buyers Club is a film full of committed actors. Director Jean-Marc Vallée tells the story of Ron Woodford’s amazing battle against HIV. Early on in the film Woodford, played by Matthew McConaughey, a stereotypical homophobic redneck, finds out he gets AIDS, something he only associates with ‘faggots’. His journey to prolong his life as much as possible leads to him distributing necessary drugs to other HIV victims that were still classified by the FDA as ‘unapproved’. Working alongside Jared Leto’s transsexual character Royan, Woodford was able to extend his lives, and the lives of others.
Set in the 80’s where drugs and other experimentation was all the rage, music plays a big factor in the entire atmosphere of the movie. The soundtrack includes a diverse group of artists, from country stars, indie icons and modern rockers. All the songs featured help bring out the kind of mood a movie like Dallas Buyers Club is.
AWOLNATION supply the collection with an inviting party anthem. Woodford was known for being quite the hellraiser, due to all the drinking and gambling that he did, and 12 Burn It Down (Innerpartysystem Remix) clearly portrayed the kind of life he lived before being diagnosed.
Amongst all the upbeat and energetic songs there’s also the very sombre and melancholy tracks. Along the way Woodford grows as a person, much introspection leads him to leave being his old bigoted thinking, and he puts all his efforts on surviving and to keep others surviving too. Artists like The Airborne Toxic Event and Tegan And Sara provide the songs Hell And Back and Shudder To Think, which reflect the character’s progression to a broader look on life.
Other notable tracks on the soundtrack is Capital Cities cover of the Bee Gees Stayin’ Alive, 30 Seconds To Mars acoustic version of City Of Angels and T. Rex’s Main Man and Life Is Strange. There’s a sort of bittersweet irony in the way Capital Cities represent the disco hit Stayin’ Alive. Taking away the high-pitched harmonies and replacing them with brooding layers of vocals add more of a sombre feeling as the words ‘staying alive’ are sung. The acoustic version of City Of Angels also provide a solemn mood, due to its stripped-back nature.
And then there’s T. Rex’s work on the soundtrack. While all the songs on the soundtrack do represent all aspects of Woodford’s story well, Main Man and Life Is Strange are the two tracks that stand out above the rest. Both songs have the right mix of the psychedelic vibe of the 80’s through the different synth work, which is combined with acoustic instruments that give off a relaxed country-folk style. Not only do those songs represent the film’s setting, but Woodford himself.
The movie itself is quite compelling, whether it’s Woodford’s change of heart that captures the watcher, or the whole HIV community and the struggles of each and everyone of them at such a restrictive time. But without such an accurate soundtrack, the film wouldn’t have made such a big impact, and both the visual and aural aspects work together to create a beautiful story of a man fighting for the right to live his life.
[CBC country=”us” show=”y”][/CBC]