Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
There’s been much said about Brokeback Mountain and much ado with it being promoted as a gay cowboy film. Jake Gyllenhall who plays Jack Twist states that isn't a "gay story", let alone a "gay cowboy tale". This is understandable. He doesn’t want to cultivate a niche market, and wants the broadest kind of audience to see the film. And you can’t blame him for that. Still the love story is different from the one in Titanic , centerfolding two men with an enduring attraction to one another who both knew that their love was forbidden. Ennis played by Australian actor Heath Ledger was hauled off by his father at a young age to view the corpse of a man who lived with another man. The taboos against homosexuality were clearly drawn though unspoken. Jack Twist is the brazen lover who doesn’t really care about the conventions of his time nor the perpetrators of hate crimes. Ennis plays it safe all the way. His repression is a sad one to observe. His jaw is clenched through most of the film, not only because he tries to squeak out a Western drawl, and rather unsuccessfully at that. There are sumptuous nature scenes of the rugged Wyoming outdoors that are glorious. One of the problems with the film however are the stereotyped cut out paper doll wives that director Ang Lee has created to blend Jack and Ennis in with the heteronormative rural life of the 60’s. There is a fifteen-year time span in the film as well and the makeup and hair jobs for both men and women folk are poorly crafted. Michelle Williams is more successful in portraying the betrayed housewife of Jack and her forlorn looks are convincing. But Anne Hathaway seems to be doing a poor imitation of both Sue Ellen and Pamela of Dallas.

Brokeback Mountain film premiered at Venice this summer and took home the Golden Lion. The award preceded its successful debut in Toronto a few weeks later and now the film has taken the US by storm. Not for art house cinema only. In LA, NYC and San Francisco it surpassed the box office for King Kong based on a limited amount of prints. The reason for this films success is of course due to the unconventionality of the story based on a prize-winning short story by Annie Proulx. Whereas John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy only flirted with homoeroticism, Brokeback Mountain delivers a homosexual romance between two ranchers that is both heart rendering and personal though seriously encumbered by a screenplay that is rich in corniness, stereotypes and clichés.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Venice Italy
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Brokeback Mountain