Title: Brokeback Mountain
Genre: Drama / Western/ Romance
Release Date: Theatrical 1/13/06, available on DVD 4/4/06
Stars: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Ang Lee
MPAA Rating: R
Reason for Rating: Sexuality, nudity, language, and some violence
Runtime: 2 hours 15 minutes
Brokeback Mountain is the adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winning author Annie Proulx’s short-story. It tells the story of two young men, Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) that meet while applying for work from a sheep rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid). While on the solitary hills of Brokeback these two young men give in to a passion harshly forbidden in the day. Their relationship moves quickly past platonic plateaus and is witnessed by their employer Joe. The season being up they both return to their lives and marry, moving on as society demands. Ennis and Jack meet on Brokeback several times a year to rekindle their relationship and exercise their passions. As they grow older, Jack’s needs become more demanding and Ennis, with two daughters, is unable to comply. The ending is as sad as the situation itself, making it impossible for the men to be who they are.
I have to prepare for the rotten fruit, for I disagree with the mainstream on this one. I don’t want to take anything from Mrs. Poulx, she wrote a great story, but I thought the film average.
Brokeback’s hype and “groundbreaking” subject matter aside, this is nothing but an expensive drama with an original soundtrack. The directing was great, the cinematography fantastic, the acting sublime, but with all that it was still just ok. After five minutes of the exceptional scenes in the mountains I became bored and contemplated a trip to the Goober counter. Ennis and Jack’s relationship was surprising, surprising that it went so far “on the first date” and was oddly violent, uncomfortably so. I did like the idea that the relationship wasn’t any different from a heterosexual relationship and that the homosexual content was secondary to the story. Unfortunately, the marketing pushed forward with the idea that cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other, to borrow a line from Willie Nelson. Don’t confuse this as a homophobic rant, this was a hot button issue and no critic wanted to be too harshly labeled as such. The truth is, Brokeback Mountain is an interesting twist on a love story left better as a short story than on film.
Hit or No Hit: Coach Mike gives this a solid double.