Brokeback Mountain (2005)
August 15th, 2007 by Maxim · 1 Comment · 3,859 Views
It’s been two years this the “Gay cowboys” movie came out in theatres, and the subject has been bread and butter of movie critics, stand-up comedians and late night TV show hosts. And, to be honest, I was trying to avoid this movie, just like I was trying to avoid the “Million Dollar Baby”. The latter I knew little about until I saw it, and what I knew could be summarized with few keywords: “a girl becomes a boxer”. And I hate sport movies. Well, turned out I was wrong to sell this movie short – it was actually quite good. Not worthy of ALL the attention it got, not an Oscar movie, but still a pretty good film in my opinion. I wouldn’t watch it twice… Anyway, I finally ordered the “Gay cowboys” on Netflix and decided to find out what all the fuss and cheap jokes were about.
Ang Lee directed and Larry McMurthy wrote a script based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx. I am not familiar with either author or the story. Two cowboys, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) get a job to herd the sheep in Wyoming’s Brokeback Mountain through the summer 1963. One thing leads to another and they fall in love. But a relationship like that could not last long and they go separate ways: Jack becomes a rodeo cowboy and Ennis keeps ranching. Both get married and have children, but neither is happy. There’s a moral here: once one begins to compare lovers, one can no longer be happy ever again. Alas, Ennis ends up getting a divorce. But they carry on the relationship despite pressure from society and family for two decades.
Of course, as always in these type of situations, someone always gets hurt. The guys have to live a double-life, always suppress their feelings, and their families, wives in particular, suffer too. The short sequence when Ennis’s wife sees him kiss Jack in a way that he never kissed her and the emotions on her face are worthy a 100 Oscars: all she believed in, all she hoped for is destroyed in 5 seconds. There’s another moral here: if one always suppresses his feelings there’s a good chance one will turn into a person who can’t love or can’t be loved. I don’t think the movie is trying to promote the “gay agenda”, as many conservatives said.
It’s a very honest movie. And thought-provoking too. Despite the subject being something society treats as taboo or scuffs at, I did care for all the characters. What’s gonna happen to them? The acting is very good. Heath Ledger ad Jake Gyllenhall had really pulled it off. But I also think that Michelle Williams who played Alma, Ennis’s wife, was so good! Heath Ledger stands out. Few actors have done what he did. My only complaint about directing is that as over the movie’s time span of 25 years our two heroes age extremely well: they just change haircuts and grow a fake-looking mustache.
Other [unpleasant] thoughts:
- Apparently, real cowboys never take their hats off when they get naked.
- I still don’t get the gay aspect of what happened. I can see how they could become close friends but this… If there is no other cowboy riding with one, there are always sheep. I guess that’s what miserable weather and bean diet can incline one into. No, I don’t really think that, but truth is I don’t know what to think: I don’t know any gay people.
- The movie was banned in China and Malaysia.
Unforgettable and gripping movie. Very well done. I could relate to everyone: the guys, their wives and daughters, the people in the bar… Wouldn’t watch it again, but I wouldn’t have to: once you see it, the images stay with you for a long time and you will be going over the story in your head many times.
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