Rodeo cowboy Jack and ranch hand Ennis are hired as sheepherders in 1963 Wyoming. One night on Brokeback Mountain, they spark a physical relationship. Though Ennis marries his longtime sweetheart and Jack marries a fellow rodeo rider, they keep up their tortured, sporadic love affair for 20 years.
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Ang Lee possesses several films in which it feels as though the director always knew, whether through intuition or meticulous planning, exactly what choices to make behind the camera in order to convey the emotional truth and narrative movement within a scene. In "Brokeback," Lee created an iconic American landscape upon which to set a series of lonely, tormented figures whose very existence subverts that icon.
Who knew that a short story published in a 1997 issue of the New Yorker by Annie Proulx about the secret love of two Wyoming cowboys would be a cultural watershed success? Despite the Academy for failing to award it an Oscar for Best Picture, the film's story and influence continues to resonate; it was recently staged as an opera in Madrid. Brokeback Mountain's dramatic story about love and loyalty is universal.
I watch this every year since it was released and the final scene always tears my heart out. Though now I've come to realise that the 2nd half is somewhat uneven and its conclusions has some aspects that usually bother me in gay-themed movies, Brokeback's still as powerful as the first time I saw it. Also, some unnoticed things, such as how the use of color reflects the characters, were pleasant to see. Top favorite.
The reputation this film has, and the assumptions people surely make about it, is a burden any film bears that has suffered through as much discourse, controversy, and media attention as BM continues to. But if you haven't seen it, you do not know what a masterpiece it truly is; it supersedes any Hollywood gloss one might assume it maintains with acting and imagery and music that is some of the rawest I've ever seen.
Since I remember it mostly as a social moment—gay cowboy jokes by the thousand, the assurance that Oscar viewers were ready for guy-on-guy thrusting—time to revisit it as a movie. The sweep is nice, and if its goal is to revise Americana more than explore the nuances of LGBT life, it's some kind of success. But too much feels affected rather than alive. I don't buy that Jake or Heath had ever set foot in Wyoming.
I feel ambivalent about this movie due to the hype surrounding it. There were good performances, but where the hell was the vaseline? Hollywood pretends to be forward-thinking, but it's always half-stepping. I did walk around for a while saying "I can't quit you" in that voice. It reminded me of Daniel Day-Lewis saying "I will find you" in 'Last of the Mohicans'.