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Matthew McConaughey fights HIV and the law in 'Dallas Buyers Club' trailer

Image: \"Dallas Buyers Club\"
Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

We watched with curiosity and concern late last year as Matthew McConaughey turned into a shell of his bulky self while shooting "Dallas Buyers Club." Now the first trailer for the film is out, and you can add compelling to the list of buzzwords.

McConaughey is definitely frail in his portrayal of Ron Woodruff, a hard-charging Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with HIV in the mid-'80s. Given 30 days to live, Woodruff set up his own pipeline of alternative medications, using illegal means to import unapproved drugs and treat sick people.

The trailer tracks Woodruff's activities south of the border, his dealings with his doctor (Jennifer Garner), the authorities, and a prostitute in drag (Jared Leto) who becomes his friend and partner.

The riveting storyline and the dramatic physical transformation of the lead actor are often the necessary ingredients for award season success. We watched McConaughey put the weight back on earlier this year. We'll watch again early next to see if it's measured in gold statues.

"Dallas Buyers Club" is scheduled for release in theaters Dec. 6.