2005 Oscar Nominees - Brokeback Mountain
| I hate to jump on bandwagons but it’s hard not agree with the critics and the early audiences and be sucked into the power of this incredible film. Ang Lee, proving himself once again to be one of the most exciting directors working today, has crafted a subtle masterpiece which delivers and is everything a movie should be.
Brokeback Mountain is one of those rare gems when everything comes together perfectly. The performances, the script, the production down to the smallest details all create good storytelling.
Lee, working from Larry McMurtry’s excellent yet sparse script, uses images and gestures to explore his characters. Instead of having them explain themselves to the audience, as amateurs often feel is necessary (see Crash), he instead conveys meaning through more subtle suggestion; looks, irony, anger.
He also allows the beautiful backdrop of Southern Alberta to create vast spaces between each character, allowing the actors to inhabit these roles absolutely. The cast is very much up to the task. I have not been impressed with the work of Jake Gyllenhaal or Heath Ledger before but here the two actors really shine. Their supporting ladies are equally impressive and the entire cast deserves kudos for creating such fully realised human beings.
In the end so much of the success of Brokeback Mountain is due to the heartbreaking and powerful yet simple story by E. Annie Proulx. Lee works so well with this material. Instead of glorifying the tragedy he instead leaves so much left unsaid, allowing the misfortune to develop naturally and so much more truthfully. It touches us as an audience in a much more “real” way, for lack of a better phrase, and in that way is a much stronger film than it could have been in the hands of a less talented artist.
It’s hard if not impossible to overstate how “good” this movie truly is. Simply experience it and you will see.
The only thing frustrating me about Brokeback Mountain is not the film itself but how the response to it has included such praise for being “brave” and “groundbreaking.” If a film about love between two men is still considered “groundbreaking” then our society is still so far behind. Aren’t we past this yet? Can’t we see love for what it is? This is what Brokeback Mountain does and if audiences aren’t ready for it then they are the ones who loose.