Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Again, I begin by stating that my only qualifications as a reviewer extend no further than my love of television and film. I'm not an academic, when it comes to this particular topic. I just talk about what I like and what I don't like.

You're safe from spoilers as long as you're in" the zone."

Brokeback Mountain (IMDB link) was a story worth telling, but it was one that was worth telling WELL. The acting was mostly fine. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams were the stand-outs. The story progression was barely adequate - and that may be giving it too much credit. I'm kinda disappointed in Ang Lee for making Crouching Cowboy, Hidden... Nevermind.

The Story. I think it's great that an underrepresented minority group for a film to spotlight some of their issues - especially one that starts in the 1960's. Some say this was a about gays, but for straights. I won't argue with that because I'm not really sure, one way or the other. I'm just glad to see gays being depicted as something more than an urge to man-merge. I think there are still too many people who don't see gays as people experiencing anything or everything along the spectrum of romance. These men loved each other and the film treats that love like something real. If nothing else, I respect it for that.

The Acting. I wasn't terribly impressed with some of the acting in this film, but I'd say that Gyllenhaal's Jack Twist and Williams's Alma had more dimension (probably both due to writing and acting) than most other characters. Gyllenhaal, unlike Ledger, didn't seem, to my untrained eye, to be a straight man trying to convince us that he was loving and lusting after another man. He just WAS Jack Twist, whereas Ledger was something of a cowboy caricature. In a way, that's not fair to Mr. Ledger, because that may have been as-intended. Michelle Williams seemed to fit neatly into her role, as well. My thumbs-up of her performance has nothing to do with my thumbs-up of her topless scenes. I don't think they could've chosen a better actress to play this wide-eyed, then accepting, and then angry character.

The StoryTELLING. Finally, there's the technical side, which I'll briefly touch on despite my lack of technical expertise in this area. We were taken back in time without notice and without any credible attepmts to minimize disorientation. Some scenes looked like they were cut on a laptop on the way inside the movie theater. I don't know a whole lot, but I know that this was one of those situations where I appreciated the attempt, but wasn't thrilled by the execution.

Recommendations? I'd only recommend this flick, as a source of entertainment, to people who already really want to see it. Otherwise, wait for it to hit your $1 theater (assuming it ever does), rent it, or skip it altogether.

Again, as a story that needs to be told, I must admit that it needs to be seen - likely by those who are uninterested in doing so. That's what makes its execution so doggone unfortunate.

What do YOU think?
Questions? Comments?

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Quick spoiler-filled thoughts:

Now, some folks think it's weird that two straight guys would "turn gay," all of a sudden, due to the magical qualities of the mountain this movie is named for. I have a hard time with the assumption that they *weren't* homosexual or BIsexual... simply because they said so... AFTER having had a homosexual experience with one another.

They lived in a place where being gay was like writing your own death certificate, in their eyes (mostly Ledger's character's eyes), so even if they DID feel an attraction to men, they muted it. Also, I don't think Jack Twist was telling the truth, as he knew it. At least the other guy seemed to be "new" to the experience. Not so with Jack. That says something. So does the fact that once they were away from prying eyes and the world's judgement, they made decisions INDEPENDENT of the world's judgements.
I kinda expected it to end (not as crappily as it did, but) with them never getting together. I was never sure, though, so I won't act like "I knew all ALONG!" But anyway, it was kinda sad I was... kinda right. Two people who really want to be together but never are and for no reason besides fear.

Anybody think Jack Twist died the way the other guy pictured it, as opposed to the way Jack's widow described it?

Also, what the hell was Ennis "swearing" about, at the end?

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