Thursday, April 13, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is the melodramatic love story of two gay cowboys in 1963 Wyoming. The story spans almost two decades as we follow the trials and hardships of the two protagonists in the story: the quiet and shy Ennis Del Mar, played by an impressive Heath Ledger, and his tortured lover Jack Twist played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Complicating matters is their "other" relationships with their wives played by Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway.

I guess, in a sense, the story is groundbreaking because it uses the Iconic American symbol of masculinity: The Cowboy, as a backdrop for the movie. But in all honesty there's nothing really special or unusual about the theme of the film.

It's basically An Affair to Remember...without the semi-happy ending.

It's really depressing that there is a significant portion of America who isn't ready for a movie like this, or that feels so threatened by it that they would protest it and go out of their way to attack the movie. From what I can gather, besides one mostly clothed sex scene the movie doesn't have anything we wouldn't see in an episode of Will & Grace.

For the life of me I can't see what all the fuss is about.

I seem to remember a movie called The Birdcage that featured characters that were a gay couple, with an actual gay actor in Nathan Lane. That film was embraced by America. It was a huge hit. There was also Wong Kar Wai's award winning Happy Together, or Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. Off the top of my head I remember the comedies Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and To Wong Foo.. both box office hits, I don't remember any controversy surrounding those films.

I can go on all night listing movies featuring Gay Characters in the leads.

So what's the deal?

Obviously it has to do with the current political climate.

It's really ridiculous when one thinks about it. Actually I take that back, it's sad, infuriating, and pathetic when one really breaks it down. What the hell is happening in America?

But that's a whole other separate issue, I'm trying to make it a point not to get too political here at Ray's Lucky 13. If one is interested in politics might I recommend my buddy Lons blog at Crushed by Inertia. This blog, however, is about movies, television and my pathetic social life. So I'll step away from the politics, and get back to my thoughts on the film.

As an actual film....... I wasn't too impressed.

At least for me, I didn't feel the chemistry that the characters were supposed to have for each other. At first I thought it might be that I don't buy Heath and Jake as tortured gay men, but then I remembered....... it was Jake and Heath...... two pretty boys that I've actually had suspicions about until they had their high profile heterosexual relationships plastered all over the media. I can buy them as Gay men. (Although I would've preferred to see two really gay men playing the parts.) That's not the problem.

I realized that the screenplay just didn't set up the lust strong enough.

Especially in the beginning.

I needed to see more clues of attraction. There at least needed to be more drama or adversity to draw them together.

Maybe the point is that they both have excellent gay-dar.

But if the movie is about how difficult it is for people to be gay during this time, and in this place, then for me there needed to be more flirtation and longing to draw them together. It would have been more dramatic, and more entertaining to see them awkwardly feel each other out longer.

It's what I would expect in a straight love story, so why wouldn't I expect to see the same in a gay love story? Just because the movie is supposedly groundbreaking it doesn't get a pass from me.

Also as a whole, the movie just seemed to lack some comedy. There's only so much melancholy moaning I can take before I need someone to crack a joke....fall on their ass...... or cut a fart....something to make me laugh.

Especially in the first hour, it just seemed to drag for me.

I just kept thinking man, it's depressing to be Gay.

I wouldn't want to be Gay either if this was what it's always like for them. Even when they are supposedly happy, Jake and Heath aren't really all that jazzed. Actually they seem to argue and fight each other..... alot.

I don't mean patty cake either, I mean beat the living shit out of each other till they bleed.

I kept thinking throughout the film all my Gay friends love being homosexual, they seem to always be having fun, I wonder what the hell they know that these characters don't.

By the second hour though, Anne Hathaway and her ridiculous wigs and period outfits arrived. That kept me entertained till the end of the film.

All kidding aside, there is some fine work in the film. Especially from Heath Ledger, he's touching and subtle and really carries the entire movie. The physical nuances and emotional baggage he carries throughout the film is impressive. Michelle Williams is good too, but the part is smaller than I expected. It's hard to see how she got a nomination from that role. Not that she isn't good, but the part is tiny. Maybe about 15 minutes of screen time.

Jake is Jake, he's pretty much what one sees in all his work....except he plays it gay.

Anne I can't remember laughing so much. One has to see this girl's different wigs to appreciate what I'm talking about.

The Cinematography is gorgeous. Lots of pretty pictures of mountains and forest to rival Dances with Wolves.

Ang Lee's direction is fine. He tells the story confidently.

But overall....I wasn't too impressed. I'll say that the movie deserved to be nominated for Best Picture. Maybe even win considering the supposed groundbreaking nature of the film. It was certainly better than Crash. But that's not saying much.

Personally.....this film wouldn't make MY top ten films of last year. I thought Munich, Match Point,The New World, Batman Begins, Broken Flowers, Me, You and Everyone you Know were on a whole different level from this film. I can even name more movies I liked better, but it's pathetic talking about last year's best films when it's already April. The movie just didn't have the same power for me that these other films have.

But hey that's just me.

Brokeback Mountain is available now on Dvd. As always, I'm sure less cynical people then me might get more out of it. I recommend checking it out for Heath Ledger's impressive performance and the pretty postcard pictures that looked great on my Widescreen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my gawd ray...for the most part, EVERYthing you said is exactly how i've described my feelings regarding this groundbreaking film..(talk about contradiction)..the only thing i hadn't given credit to, was heath..i think i was so bogged down with the idea that there was no chemistry leading up to the sex, etc..and that he completely ignored his family at one point, that i didn't give him enough credit..but i can't believe WE agree on anything.hehe