172 of 1001 Movies: Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain is one of the most talked about movies from the year 2005. Many people I assume mention the relationship aspect of it, but it really I think goes deeper in that as to why it got so much publicity. The actors involved really do surrounded themselves in their characters, and the movie really does draw you into the world as if it is happening. It doesn’t hold back on the thoughts, perspectives, and lives of the characters it’s trying to depict.

Summary: Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist are looking for a job at the same place, herding and watching over Joe Aguiree’s sheep. They are both hired and spend time together on Brokeback Mountain While there though Ennis and Jack begin a relationship that has to remain secret, but their secret will span years over time. Ennis and Jack do marry and move on, but their inability to stay away from each other will cause a lot of hurt, betrayal, and confusion for those that are affected by their relationship.

Acting: The acting was way better than I expected. I have seen Heath Ledger in a hand full of films now, but the transitions he is able to make from playing all the different roles is just remarkable. It just felt very tragic watching this to know he went way too soon. He was at the top of his field at a very young age. The way he talks and just his whole demeanor works for portraying Ennis. It’s like his character says so little, but just the way he carries himself says a lot. Then you go and watch Ledger in a movie like The Dark Knight and the transformation is just huge. He can go from playing a small town cowboy to a creepy, very scary, monster in another movie. Jake Gyllenhaal was another surprise performance for me as Jack. Now I will say I found Jack to be very unlikable though. He seemed to take advantage of Ennis’ confusion and seclusion to me. Again though, Jake says a lot about his character just in the way he acts without having to give us much back story. There is also Anne Hathaway as Jack’s wife, Lureen, who I found very well acted as well. There is one scene near the end, where her demeanor and tone of her voice just says a lot about her feelings toward Jack. Then there is also Michelle Williams as Alma. Williams also shows she is able to transform into many characters and bring out their confusion, anger, and love very easily.

Filming: Ang Lee highlights the beauty of the surrounding area that Ennis resides in. You have lots of beautifl shots of the sunsets, the mountains, the rivers, and just how green everything is. These guys always meet when it is cold though, and there is always a rainy overcast to their meetings. Actually, the whole movie lacks a lot of sunset. This sets a dark tone for the movie though, and it gives the tragic feel of the movie. The backdrop contributes to that lurking dark feeling you can’t quite shake after you watch this movie.

Plot: The plot isn’t anything too complicated, but it does deal with a complicated issue. I think what makes many people find Ennis and Jack unlikable is the fact they dragged their families and wives into this issue without much consideration it seems. No one likes making cheaters the lead of the movies, because then it gives the movie a difficult hero to really try to grow attached to. It seems if there is one thing most people are universally against, it’s cheating. While it deals with a real issue that people can relate to, no one wants to imagine that someone would betray them to be with someone else. I also think that is why the movie has such a dark feel to it. I don’t even think it’s intended to be too romantic. It’s just mainly sad. It seems Ennis and Alma are more responsible about the decisions they make, which is probably why Ennis it the one that viewers will connect to more, but Jack just never seems to realize the double life he is leading.

Brokeback Mountain does have a compelling story. There are rarely any light moments though. Did these guys ever have non-serious moments with each other? Even when they goof they end up really drawing fist.   There is also the dreary over cast, and the sad story. It isn’t a movie that sits lightly, and I didn’t expect for it to sit for days on my mind. There is some great acting that causes that effect though, and you have a soundtrack that adds this very memorable tone to the movie.

Rating 7 of 10.

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