I’ve never considered Mathew McConaughey my favorite actor, that’s an honor set aside for the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Ed Norton and Michael Shannon but over the past 3 years, MM (his name is too damn long) has seen himself move from the guy who takes off his shirt for the ladies to a man churning out unquestionably excellent performances.
The first few MM films I saw were Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Failure to Launch which typified his descent into mediocre rom com fare. He also played a supporting role in Tropic Thunder, which is one of my favorite comedies and I admit I did find his role amusing but then again everyone was good in that film. Bottom line is, he didn’t have that pedigree and he surely wasn’t the go-to-guy for solid performances. He was a far cry from the actor in A time to kill who showed much promise – until now of course.
The past couple of years has seen the 43 year old gift movie lovers with top notch outings in Lincoln Lawyer, Magic Mike, Mud, and Killer Joe which was by far one of my top films of last year. His performances have all been met praise from critics and fans alike. His new found willingness to accept challenging roles has been key to his self coined mcconaissance. He may also have had a visit from the MM ghost of rom coms future and it’s fair to say he was terrified by what he saw so much so that he completely reinvented himself and churned out 5 consecutive top drawer performances of varying nature which is no mean feat. He’s gone from striptease to the slick twisted cop-cum-assassin in the last year and he was an outside shout for some big time recognition come awards season some critics felt he did deserve an Oscar nomination for his part in Magic Mike.
The film making talent he has collaborated with has also played its part as he has shied away from the conventional boxoffice fare. He has appeared in vehicles helmed by Steven Soderbergh, Lee Daniels and William Freidkin who have all contributed their fair share too various greatest film lists and he has just finished filming with one of the greatest directors of all time, Martin Scorsese and is set to lead Christopher Nolan’s upcoming SCI-FI Interstellar. Later this year though, we will see him in The Dallas Buyers’ Club which could finally land him the Academy Award nomination which will no doubt be a fitting reward as he continues his McConaissance.
The Dallas Buyers Club sees him team up with Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée in the true story of a Texas electrician Ron Woodroof and his battle with the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies after being diagnosed with HIV. The film lays out his search for alternative treatments that helped established a way in which fellow HIV-positive people could join for access to his supplies.
He is joined on screen by Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto who hasn’t been in anything for years now and If chatter from the Toronto Film festival is anything to go by, then The Dallas Buyers’ Club is going to be one hell of a movie; great direction, solid script and a great onscreen presence from MM and Leto who critics say are definitely in the mix for Oscar nods in the best actor and best supporting actor categories respectively. They both undergo visible body transformations with quite extreme weight loss which goes to their commitment to the roles they play. They definitely pull off some great onscreen chemistry and the prospect of the homophobe – drag queen combo has me drooling with anticipation.
MM’s upcoming movies with Scorsese and Nolan show his rise is nowhere near its peak and I do pray the best is yet to come. He kind of mirrors of the DeNiro of the 70’s and 80’s who was a mainstay in a number of the best films from that period. The Iceman with Micheal Shannon was at the top of my “must see movies” list for this year but that was regrettably an underwhelming experience for me but The Dallas Buyers’ Club will be worth the watch and hopefully it is screened at the Silverbird screen the film so I dont wait till DVD releases.