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Dallas Buyers Club

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • 'Dallas Buyers Club' impresses with powerful acting & a timely, poignant story, despite a lackluster extras package.

    Dallas Buyers Club Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Dallas Buyers Club's 1080p transfer shines with natural colors, lifelike skin tones, and solid blacks, preserving the film's aesthetic despite minor digital noise and a warm glow in certain scenes, free of major artifacts.

  • Audio
  • Dallas Buyers Club's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers immersive, clear sound without gimmickry, balancing raw LFE & precise directionality, true to film's tone & drama, even in dialogue-heavy scenes.

  • Extra
  • Despite Dallas Buyers Club's critical acclaim, its Blu-ray release features disappointingly scant bonus content, including a too-brief behind-the-scenes look and some deleted scenes, underscoring a need for a more robust special edition.

  • Movie
  • Matthew McConaughey's transformative journey in 'Dallas Buyers Club' showcases his fearless performance in the face of AIDS, reflecting a dramatic career evolution and a compelling story of resilience and advocacy.

    Video: 75

    The Blu-ray release of "Dallas Buyers Club" presents a video quality that is as commendable as it is faithful to the original theatrical experience, thanks to its 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encoding. The color palette is executed with a natural finesse, where saturation is handled tastefully, ensuring that the skintones appear lifelike and primary colors occasionally pop, enhancing the visual storytelling. The movie’s digital cinematography, courtesy of Yves Bélanger, leans towards a more muted tone in specific scenes, a stylistic choice that's well-preserved in this home release. Detailing is sharp across the board - from clear edge definition to intricate textures and remarkable close-up clarity. The film's grain structure is maintained, allowing for an authentic cinematic texture, while common digital pitfalls like macroblocking and aliasing are absent, showcasing an exceptional transfer effort.

    The filmmakers' choice to shoot digitally using hand-held Arri Alexa cameras and rely primarily on natural lighting conditions has imparted a distinct warmth and saturation level to certain segments of the film, notably those set in Ron Woodroof’s trailer and the rodeo scenes, which exhibit an orange-ish hue. This deliberate aesthetic choice contrasts with more neutrally balanced hospital and outdoor scenes, underlining the versatile visual tone of the film. Black levels, although not the deepest, are adequate and consistent, contributing to an overall solid shadow delineation without compromising on detail visibility, even in darker scenes.

    Despite minor instances of 'mosquito noise' in scenes with solid white backgrounds – a negligible concern that won’t distract most viewers – this Blu-ray presentation avoids significant issues like banding or artifacting, making it a top-notch transfer. It’s clear that meticulous attention has been paid to ensure the video quality mirrors the director's and cinematographer's vision as closely as possible. As a result, viewers can expect a visually pleasing experience that both honors and elevates the original work, making "Dallas Buyers Club" a gratifying addition to any collection.

    Audio: 77

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track of "Dallas Buyers Club" is a masterclass in audio presentation, pairing a restrained yet confident design with the film's dramatic depth. The mix embodies the swagger of Ron Woodroof, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, offering an unexpectedly immersive experience. The LFE channels deliver substantial low-end presence, from the raw power of a car's roar to the subtle ambiance of a crowded bar, enhancing the film's atmosphere without overwhelming it. The rear channels complement the front with precise directionality, ensuring ambient sounds and cross-channel movement are handled with care. This track maintains clarity in dialogue at all times, avoiding common pitfalls like prioritization errors or muffled voices, allowing for a nuanced auditory experience that mirrors the film's understated, yet potent, narrative tone.

    The audio track excels in depth and detail, evident in scenes where high-pitched tones mimic the protagonist's tinnitus, adding a layer of realism to Ron's suffering without detracting from the overall audio quality. Despite being dialogue-driven, the film makes effective use of surround sound, with excellent rear speaker engagement that brings to life various settings, from rodeos to intimate bar scenes. The mix balances directionality and low-frequency effects well, providing a tangible sense of space and movement that's rarely achieved in films of this genre. Though a minor ADR discrepancy can be noted, it does not diminish the overall excellence of the soundtrack. The absence of any technical flaws like dropouts or glitches further attests to the track's high quality. Additionally, the inclusion of English SDH and Spanish subtitles ensures accessibility, rounding out an audio presentation that enriches the viewing experience without resorting to unnecessary extravagance.

    Extra: 42

    The Blu-ray extras for "Dallas Buyers Club" are notably scant, reflecting perhaps an oversight in appreciating the film's impactful narrative and performances. The deluxe package comprises a brief behind-the-scenes look titled "A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club," offering minimal insights with fleeting commentary from prominent cast members like McConaughey. The deleted scenes, albeit short, add a layer of depth missing from the original cut, particularly one involving Ron and Eve caring for a sick Rayon, suggesting a missed opportunity for further character development within the film. Moreover, the inclusion of a selection of trailers for other movies presents an eclectic mix, though it feels somewhat unrelated to the primary content. Despite the potential for a more enriched supplementary package, what is included offers a quick glimpse into the production and what might have been, leaving audiences wanting.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • A Look Inside Dallas Buyers Club: Behind-the-scenes featurette with cast comments.
    • Deleted Scenes: A collection of scenes not included in the final cut.
    • Trailers: Assortment of trailers for various films.

    Movie: 80

    Matthew McConaughey's mesmerizing transformation for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club" marks a pinnacle in his career, evidencing a profound departure from his earlier, lighter roles to embody the complex character of Ron Woodroof with an intensity that's both raw and deeply nuanced. McConaughey's performance, shedding thirty-seven pounds and diving into the psyche of a man battling AIDS and the system, illustrates a breathtaking commitment to storytelling and character craftsmanship. His portrayal goes beyond mere acting; it's a fervent, spirited incarnation of Woodroof’s relentless fight against his diagnosis, biases, and the FDA. The role not only reinvents McConaughey’s film persona but also serves as a testament to his unparalleled dedication and skill, setting a new bar for what audiences can expect from the actor.

    The narrative of "Dallas Buyers Club," rooted in the real-life story of Ron Woodroof, unfolds against the backdrop of the 1980s AIDS epidemic. The film delves into Woodroof’s initially desperate, solitary quest for survival which gradually transforms into a broader struggle for the rights and lives of those similarly afflicted. This journey is enriched by the presence of Jared Leto’s Rayon, a character that not only provides a compelling counterpoint to Woodroof but also offers a heartfelt exploration of the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for recognition and compassion during a time of crisis. Their burgeoning friendship and mutual respect become a powerful emotional core for the film, challenging preconceived notions and societal prejudices.

    Jean-Marc Vallée's directorial prowess shines in his ability to balance the film's gritty, raw storytelling with moments of levity and profound humanity. By giving his cast the creative freedom to explore their roles, Vallée ensures that "Dallas Buyers Club" doesn't just recount a story but embraces it, embodying the spirit and struggles of its characters. The screenplay, while taking creative liberties, anchors its drama in the essence of Woodroof’s story, offering a narrative that is both engaging and thought-provoking. In straddling the line between reality and fiction, the film invites viewers to ponder the complexities of life, resilience, and redemption, making "Dallas Buyers Club" a compelling cinematic experience that resonates far beyond its closing scenes.

    Total: 70

    Dallas Buyers Club" emerges as a profound cinematic journey, navigating through the tempestuous waters of social and political issues with a poignant and effective true story at its core. The narrative doesn't just chronicle the AIDS crisis; it delves into the deeper, more universal theme of an individual's right to self-determined medical care, making it a standout amidst its contemporaries vying for Best Picture. The film is imbued with life and vigor, contrary to expectations of it being a melancholic portrayal. The performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto transcend mere acting; they're a powerful testament to actorial dedication, shedding vanity to embrace their roles fully. This thematic and performative excellence is matched by Universal's Blu-ray presentation, which offers impeccable video and audio quality. Albeit the supplemental package might leave enthusiasts wanting due to its brevity and lack of depth, the technical aspects ensure the film is portrayed in its deservedly best light.

    However, while the Blu-ray format does justice to the film's visual and auditory elements, making it a must-have for collectors and cinephiles, it can be argued that more could have been done to enrich the supplemental offerings. In an era where behind-the-scenes insights and extended content add significant value to home releases, "Dallas Buyers Club" misses the opportunity to further immerse and educate its audience on the complexities of its production and the real-life issues it represents.

    In conclusion, "Dallas Buyers Club" on Blu-ray is an essential addition to any collection, not solely for the remarkable performances and the compelling story but also for its superb technical presentation. Despite wishing for a more substantial variety in extras, this release stands as a robust testament to the film’s significance and enduring appeal. Its direct confrontation of still-relevant social debates through a well-crafted narrative and outstanding audiovisual quality secures its place as a distinguished home entertainment experience.