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Let's start shedding away the layers of hoopla and ridiculous insinuations that have surrounded this film since it was first released. "It's a gay cowboy movie." This is as much a 'gay cowboy movie' as "Titanic" was a 'straight sailor movie'. If that is all you take away from "Brokeback Mountain", you have no business sitting your rotund ass in a theatre seat to see it, plain and simple. "It's all about gay." I could just as easily say a film like "50 First Dates" is 'all about straight'. You could label just about any motion picture like that and still be no closer to understanding what it is really about. "Brokeback Mountain" has been, without a doubt, the most blatantly controversial film of 2005, and I just don't see why. "Angels In America" was far more accommodating to homosexuals and it received the kind of praise and recognition that few theatrical releases ever dream of achieving...and "Angels In America" was broadcast on HBO, giving people easier access, for the most part. So, why all the fuss? Is it just because the Western is the one genre that is sacred and should not be 'tainted' with a homosexual love story. How about this -- "Brokeback Mountain" is not a Western. Those who say it is have obviously never seen anything with John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. I found "Brokeback Mountain" to be one of the most sincere and engaging love stories I have seen in years and a deeply affecting motion picture on virtually every level. Ang Lee is a master filmmaker and this is the best film he has ever given an audience.
From the initial scene of the film, we realize the story revolves around Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal). Working for Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) herding sheep across Brokeback Mountain, the two form a quick bond and very soon a sexual relationship while isolated amongst the mountains. But, these scenes on Brokeback Mountain are really only a minor portion of the film. The real story comes along after they have gone their separate ways and have already formed families far away from one another. Ennis marries Alma (Michelle Williams) and very soon has two daughters to contend with. Jack marries Lureen (Anne Hathaway) and inherits the wealth of her family along with her. After four years, Jack pays Ennis a visit and it seems as if hey had never parted. They then begin to start seeing one another on weekends and on and off throughout the year, going on 'fishing trips' and continuing their secret relationship. The primary plot of the film deals with the effect this secret has on them, and their families, and their lives as a whole. We see that they obviously love one another, but cannot follow those feelings because of what it will do to their families, and what society will do to them. "Brokeback Mountain" is new and different in that it doesn't take sides or issues...it's just a love story.
Director Ang Lee and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto have crafted quite possibly the most visually stunning film of the decade. Wyoming comes alive here, as do the other locales used for the film. Some of the landscape shots were nothing short of what I can only describe as breathtaking. And, I loved how Ang Lee didn't let the focus stray away from Ennis and Jack...it was always about them. Even when Lureen and Alma are introduced...the focus is always on Ennis and Jack. Ang Lee kept this as a love story from the first eye contact through the end credits of the film. Imagine how difficult that would be for a director to do, especially with the risks he was taking regarding the subject matter and the content? Ang Lee has nerves of steel, and thank God for that. I wish there were more directors like that. He also found a way to insert some levity and some humor into the plot, a nice detour from the hard hitting drama throughout the remainder of the picture. We watch these men age, and with the gray hairs and the wrinkles on their face, we also see their relationship turn into something more important...more serious. The less and less they see of one another, the stronger and stronger their feelings become. That is what I call drama.
And, what can I say about Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal? First off, the fact that two straight men would take on these roles is phenomenal, and the fact that they were able to pull it off so effortlessly just boggles my mind. Heath Ledger delivers the performance of his career as Ennis, and really carries the film with his slightly slurred speech and intensity. Jake Gyllenhaal brings a little lightheartedness to the film and he really comes alive once more in another stellar performance. The two female supporters, Williams and Hathaway are flawless, with Williams especially on task as the wife who knows what is going on, but stays silent for as long as she can because she wants to keep her family together. There was not a single missed beat in this film and I don't see how "Brokeback Mountain" does not score a plethora of Oscar nominations. You just knew you were watching something special from the very first scene. You knew you were watching something that was being hyped so much because it had every reason to be hyped. "Brokeback Mountain" was a masterpiece.
In summation, here are my suggestions for those crazy little Oscar voters: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress. Phew. That was a laundry list of achievements, but it deserves each and every nomination. It does not, however, deserve to win over "Munich"...they are on different levels of cinema. They are two different kinds of 'masterpiece'. I can't help but think that most of the people who have been praising "Brokeback Mountain" have done so because it is the cool thing to do, just as most homosexuals feel obligated to love the film. I did not love the film because I thought it was cool. I did not love the film because of my being a homosexual -- I would have loved the film straight as an arrow. I loved the film because it was an absolutely stunning cinematic achievement. When all of the dust has settled and the hoopla has subsided, you are left with a love story that ranks up there as one of the greatest of all time. That's all the hoopla it needs.
- added 01/19/2006, 08:08 AM
Ang Lee has made 2 of the worst movies I have ever
seen: The Hulk and Hidden Dragon. I think I will
skip this one.
- added 01/27/2006, 03:50 PM
But he has also made "The Ice Storm" and "Sense &
Sensibility". See it.
- added 03/30/2006, 01:07 AM
i'm pretty sure that this movie was beyond
terrible. the only redeeming part of the whole
film was when Jake Gyllenhaal's character was
beaten to death. otherwise it was an extremely
overrated pile of trash, and the only reason it
was appraised was because of it's showing of gay
love. we were led to believe that if we didn't
like this movie that we were homophobic. look at
the acceptance speech the screenwriters gave at
the Academy's for Christ's sake. the two people,
one a lady and the other a guy, gave a speech and
basically said that men are pigs and that they're
happier that they had the chance to try to soften
their hearts. if you don't like this movie,
you're not homophobic, you just didn't enjoy the
movie. and that's exactly what it was like for
- added 03/31/2006, 03:36 PM
No, what makes you homophobic is your comment
about the only great part being when Jake
Gyllenhaal's character gets beaten to death. I am
gay and did not feel obliged to like the film
because I am gay. I thought it was overrated too,
but I still thought it was a great film. How was
it a pile of trash? Defend your statement? You
obviously know nothing about cinematography,
original music, or acting if you think the film
was a pile of trash. It's OK that you didn't
like, but to call it a pile of trash means you are
either cinematically ignorant or homophobic,
because you certainly didn't back it up.
- added 04/02/2006, 01:35 AM
why should i back anything up for you? my
comments weren't directed towards you, since i
obviously can read and saw that you loved the
movie. my comments were for the other people who
either haven't seen it or have seen it and didn't
like it. and christ, just because a movie has
good original music doesn't mean that it's a good
movie. same for acting. if the story is bad,
nothing can save it. so stop trying to defend
every single movie review you do by posting
comments countless numbers of times, and focus
more on posting new, original reviews. we'd all
be a lot happier for it
- added 04/04/2006, 03:34 PM
Because people who cannot back up their arguments,
obviously, have no argument to make. And, yes,
acting and music and lush and gorgeous
cinematography can make a film good. I am sorry
you don't like my continual comments, but I have
just as much contempt for ill-informed individuals
who preach negative vibes about a film when they
really have no idea what they are talking about.
I don't mind your not liking a film...just have
the good sense to have a legitimate reason and be
able to give me an example. Sheesh.
- added 05/19/2006, 05:02 PM
Pretty good movie, although it was hugely
overrated (and having that death spoiled was a
downer... tsk, tsk). The only thing that I didn't
like was Lee's constant use of the scenery shot; I
get that the mountains and trees and river and
plains and landscape and (and, and, and) are
beautiful, but he really over-used those shots.
- added 04/01/2007, 02:49 PM
Really enjoyed this movie. I won't lie and say the
gay scenes didn't make me slightly uncomfortable,
because they did, but I got over it, and really
enjoyed this movie. However, no matter how many
times I backed it up, I could never figure out
what that last line Ledger said was. The ending
was pretty depressing as well, which was a downer,
but at least it wasn't a ridiculous fairytale
ending. - 9/10
- added 08/09/2007, 02:43 PM
this movie was hyped and overrated all to shit. I
normally avoid movies with this much hype, as I
tend to walk away SEVERELY disappointed. This was
no exception. As a previous comment stated, the
story was terribly weak, there were moments where
I wondered how long the goddamn scene was going to
linger. I'll give it points for the soundtrack,
it was a breath of fresh air in this alarmingly
pointless movie. The acting was good all around,
which is odd for an Ang Lee movie (I hated "The
Ice Storm", side note) and the cinematography was
"Hey Lee, will you ever let your
camera establish a solid shot in ANY movie you
"No, that would make to much sense.
Besides, Kubrick could keep a camera moving, why
Because, Lee, you're not Kubrick.
When this man finally besides to keep his camera
in a comfortable shot for more than 40 seconds,
then you can give me a call. I loved the idea of
this movie, I love all the actors and actresses
involved. I hated the script, the camera-work and
Ang Lee's directoral style. I'll give this one a
3.1/10 at the best. I nodded off twice during it.
Any movie that can put me to sleep at 2 in the
afternoon is not a movie I enjoyed.
- added 01/22/2008, 08:46 PM
I'll agree with you that it was overrated, because
it was a pro-gay movie. All that hype and hoopla
aside it was touching, and as much as that one
particular scene made me uncomfortable, I really
loved it. It's one of those movies I wish I owned
so I could watch it again and again.
- added 01/22/2008, 09:13 PM
Then buy it. I really just found it boring and
- added 03/15/2008, 05:36 PM
For sure is a good topic... gays cowboys...
but the movie is a bit boring.. is not
it? come on...
- added 03/08/2009, 11:49 PM
I never saw it..Never heard of it.
- added 06/02/2009, 11:41 PM
Single most depressing movie Ive ever seen.
SO as Im off to the theatre Im thinking Heath
and Jake.... 2 sexy guys sexing each other
Sadly no, It was never hot,
even the all too brief sex scene just looked rough
and sloppy (and not in a sexy S&M way either).
THe movie never really picked up, never got funny
or romantic or ,well, good! It was just one
depressing scene followed by more depression,
followed by the MOST depressing ending ever.
Totally sucked all the joy outa my day.