Saturday, November 23, 2013
Throwback Review: Brokeback Mountain
Here is Jesse's tender review of Brokeback Mountain. It first appeared on 2/10/06. It appears here as it first appeared on the old blog. I know...you are waiting for that new stuff we promised! Soon now...soon. Until then enjoy Jesse's romantically touching review!
My girlfriend (who I love dearly) wanted to see this movie. I being the loving boyfriend I am was glad to take her. I won't lie I really didn't want to see a movie about two gay cowboys and their undying love. Too be honest with you I wouldn't want to see a love story involving any of the sexes. I'm just not a love story kind of guy. Yet I gathered her up and took her to see it. I was in for a bit of a surprise.
Let's start off with the very simple plot. Two cowboys are hired to spend six months in the mountains with sheep. One will sleep with the sheep the other at the camp. These two cowboys are Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal). While on the mountain they develop a relationship. They fall in love but both agree no one can know. They come off the mountain and go to live seperate lives. Every once in a while the two will get together and go camping on Brokeback Mountain. Ennis's wife (Michelle Williams) grows knowledgable of what they do fishing. This sets up some complications to these men's love story. Jack goes on too marry a woman (Anne Hathaway). Both of them have children but Jack isn't able to cope with the seperation from Ennis. He wants the two of them to start a ranch together. Ennis can not do this as he doesn't want to seperate from his children. So the two can only spend time when they meet on Brokeback Mountain for their trips. There is more plot then this but I don't want give to much away.
First let's talk about the acting in this film. Heath Ledger does give a superb performance as Ennis. Ennis is a very quiet man and doesn't speak a whole lot. His emotions are hidden deep within him. The only true emotions he expresses in the movie are too Jack. This exchange of dialogue says it all about his character.
Jack: You know that's the most you've said in two weeks.
Ennis: Hell, that's the most I said in two years.
And when he says it you absolutely believe he hasn't. Ennis is an introvert and Jack an extrovert. So, Heath gets a less showy role but he tells the entire story of his character with his movements and facial gestures. Ennis has a lot of anger in him and when it explodes he can't reign it in. He never takes it out in his wife or loved ones, just random people who rile him up. Heath deserves his nomination (we all know he'll get it) but I don't think he deserves victory. He does deserves kudos for his performance (and I won't use the word brave with as much money as they get paid it kills all claims to it). Jake on the other hand is a good actor but his character is a total fuckhead. He is very self centered and his only concern is his own happiness and nothing else. Jake does his best to show this as him being so much in love but it comes off wrong and I blame that more on the writing. The two actresses in the movie Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams are both really good in this film. Michelle gets the more kudos. Her character is so in love with Ennis that it tears her up when she finds out. She sticks with him though even having sex with him after that (even though he likes to fuck her in the ass). She does her best to hold onto her man and her family. After a while she knows this to be a futile attempt. She is strong and one of the best written female characters in a while. Hathaway is good but her character starts off nice then turns into a cold hearted bitch. Anne does her best with the role but again the writing failed her.
Now let's talk about the writing if we could. The script was written by Larry McMurty and Diana Osama based on the short story by Anne E. Proulx. This story is write up McMurty's alley. He loves writing about cowboys in the modern age. They always come across as men who don't belong. So, it's even more perfect that they are cowboys who would be rejected by other cowboys. He does a nice job on the script in places. He and Diana created a wonderful character in Ennis Del Mar. They write him pitch perfect. They know that decent men like him put family in front of everything else. They know they are willing to sacrifice everything to put their kids first. They also know that Ennis wouldn't be able to communicate to his kids. No matter how much love he has for them the gap would always be there. Now where they fail is with Jack. Jack is the complete opposite of Ennis. Now this is just textbook writing but the problem is he has no redeeming value at all. They should of done one more rewrite to get him right. Do they deserve an Oscar? No, but they did a good job on it.
The director of this film is Ang Lee. Ang Lee is one of the best directors alive. He has directed such classics as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm, and my personal favorite Ride With The Devil. He brings his style to this movie with much a plumb. The visuals in this movie are beautiful. He captures the scenery like Ansel Adams would of if he directed. Every shot is set up to perfection. The Mountain is almost as important a character as the people involved. Ang also doesn't shy away from nothing he captures everything in it's rawest forms. Ang Lee does a masterful job with okay material.
All right so you know some of my complaints here are a few more. While watching the movie I noticed one thing. During the first of the movie we see the two work and actually begin to talk to each other. Then one night Ennis too drunk to ride up to the sheep sleeps at the camp. Shivering in the night Jack tells him to get in the tent. Ennis agrees. He lies down next to Jack. After he falls asleep Jack grabs his arm and wraps it around his own body. Ennis wakes up and the grab each other violently. Two seconds later with no kissing or anticipation Ennis has bent him over and inserted. I saw this and one thought hit my mind, "that's not very romantic."
Through the whole movie the two of them kiss violently. There is no romance whatsoever to their love story. It looked more like they should be beating the shit out of each other and not have relations. My other problem is this the movie is a tad too long. We could of spent a little more time cutting out the fat not needed. Maybe some of those scenes showing Jack to be a jerk would of been nice.
Now fellas I know what your thinking why should I see a film about two gay men. Well for one there are two gorgeous chicks in it. They also both take of their tops and share their lucious boobs with us. So, there you go you male bimbos. Now I haven't forgot you ladies. Both men (regrettably) can't seem to keep their clothes on and there will be plenty for you to see. Now a warning for those of you with a weak stomach. There is some graphic violence in the movie. We see an old man's body after his penis has been torn off (strangely a very important scene to the movie). There is also a sheep that has it's insides torn out by a coyote that we seen in graphic detail. Both scenes were a bit squeamish and really grossed out my girlfriend. So be prepared for these eventualities.
So what's the final verdict. The movie was nothing more then okay. It was good to watch once. If you do see it it has to be on the big screen so you can appreciate the scenery. It won't be on either of my best or worst list. It's too good to be on any worst list. My final thought was it was better than Star Wars Revenge of the Sith which was a gay love story that didn't work.