Brokeback Mountain

Dan Movie Reviews

Went with Matt tonight to see Ang Lee’s latest, Brokeback Mountain. There’s a lot of Oscar buzz around this film, and I really don’t know why. Even after seeing it, the only thing that stood out was the cinematography. The film is based on a short story – yet runs about two hours long – and as such, it stretches out brief momens into long, lingering shots. It’s as if they were saying “look how pretty it is”.

The story follows two ranch hands – Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger), and their relationship over a twenty year period. You see, stuck up alone on Brokeback Mountain with the sheep herd, they got a little frisky. Sure, they parted ways, and both got married and had kids – but they would meet for “fishing trips” to rekindle their hormonal urges. Then Ennis’s wife finds out – but doesn’t even confront him about it for 15 years. And they had been long divorced since then. Which really begs the question: what’s the point?

Ledger has like 20 lines of dialogue in the entire movie. Which is a shame, because he’s mumbling so much, and you can barely understand his “accent”, that you would be lucky to understand even just a few lines of dialogue. Gyllenhaal looks so youthful, that by the time 20 years have gone by, they threw on a fake mustache and sideburns, just to make him look like he’s not still in High School.

The music, by Gustavo Santaolalla, was fine and understated, but didn’t do much for me. (It’s used in the trailer, if you see it.) The languid pace of this film, combined with the simplistic story, made me want to call this film Boreback Mountain. It still has Oscar buzz, but then, Hollywood has always been in such a myopic bubble that I can’t even pretend to be surprised.