Movies / Movie Reviews

Touring Brokeback Mountain

By Hervé St-Louis
December 25, 2005 - 23:08

With a modest advertising budget, no television commercials and a limited distribution, Brokeback Mountain has received lots of press coverage by critics and the media. Awarded the Venice Film Festival’s highest awards, some have speculated that this film would change the American society. A short story written by Annie Proulx, Brokeback Mountain is set in Wyoming and Texas.

The story of cowboys Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ennis Del Mar, played by Heath Ledger, it is the story of two men who became lovers during the summer of 1963 while guarding sheep in the mountains. Their hidden relationship spanned 20 years. But the question is, are the critics following a herd mentality by giving Brokeback Mountain the best reviews or is the film really that good?

Ang Lee, whose last film, The Hulk, bombed and was criticized as having a complex plot, has found a perfect outlet for his need for intricate storytelling. However, as intricate as the love of the two cowboys for one another and the devastation it creates in their lives and those of their families, Lee seems to have adopted a naturalistic hands off approach in this film. We are not being told a story. We are simply witnesses to the lives of these two cowboys and can see how difficult it is for them.

The characters’ body language and their environment evoke most of the complex emotions and situations. Brokeback Mountain is filled with quiet American and canvas shots showing the place where Jack and Ennis thought was their only escape from society. The only thing that didn’t work in the film’s cinematography was how the characters age. Something that spanned 20 years, looked like it had lasted but five years. I had problems believing that Ennis' daughter was nineteen toward the end of the film, considering Ledger, the actor, is but 26 in real life.

The critics were right in the sense that this film was above average. Its message, which calls for more tolerance toward homosexuals was translated easily, as the characters’ emotion and pain reached into the repertoire of universal desires of longing, love and struggle to adhere to society’s standards. No need to be gay to get that. Yeah, it’s a good movie, even for comic book fans and those unfamiliar with homosexuality.

Last Updated: March 10, 2022 - 22:00

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