January 23 06

went to see Brokeback Mountain last night.
while the girls were going to see the ‘gay cowboy movie’ the men did what any hot-blooded heterosexual men would do. they’d make ribs. and not just any ribs. the kind that look like they belong on the flintstones. and, naturally, didn’t save the women any. nice.

Last night after the movie was over, i thought the movie was good, and i was glad that i’d seen it. but now, sitting here this morning, thinking about it, the movie was fantastic.

the basic story is nothing we haven’t heard or seen before. two people have a short, spontaneous and hopeless sexual encounter and then separate, each marrying someone else and building a family. Yet their attraction to one another is irresistible, and they meet periodically over the years for brief, intense moments together. The twist in this telling of the tale, of course, is that the doomed lovers are both male. and not just male…but the manliest of American Male Archetypes, they are cowboys.

The story is of Ennis Del Mar, the quiet, ranch-hand and Jack Twist, the boisterous rodeo cowboy and both Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal play the parts well. Ledger is clearly the star of this film even though Ennis is as introverted and socially awkward a man as you’ll ever meet. and even though at times i couldn’t quite catch what he was saying.

my only beef was with the “aging” makeup. It just didn’t work. Giving the men sideburns, and making the women’s hair bigger (Anne Hathaway’s) and greasier (Michelle’s Williams’), didn’t seem to age them. These are people who would have aged more than normal, what with the strains of their lives, their difficult marriages, and their children, but yet they are completely unconvincing as anything other than 20-somethings.

Ang Lee has brilliantly managed to capture more than lavish backdrops and romantic sentimentalities and arrives at the end of the film with a sad reflection on love fought for and lost. Some will find hope in the final scene of Brokeback Mountain for at least one of the characters, but the final shot leaves him exactly where he has spent the majority of his life—hopelessly stuck in the past, longing for a peace that has more than likely passed him by years and years ago.

yup, that Brokeback..it got me good.

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