It is 1968 and two young men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, find work driving cattle in Wyoming. Jack is outgoing and friendly, Ennis is dark and moody. The men forge a tumultuous life-long bond in a harsh society.Review:
Think Romeo and Juliet, except that Juliet is a rodeo cowboy with a five 'o clock shadow. Yes, it's a gay love story, now that we have that out of the way…
Two young men, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) find work driving cattle in Wyoming.This might have been a drawn-out cowboy movie with two grimy men drink ing alcohol straight from the bottle, characteristic of Western veterans like Clint Eastwood. But it isn't.
And forget every movie you've seen about homosexuality, this is not what this movie is about. Better yet, have no expectations, that way you won't be preoccupied by the subject matter. Brokeback has succeeded where others have failed, in bringing realism to characters too long portrayed as one-dimensional stereotypes.
The cast is young and the talent is boundless. Heath Ledger portrays the troubled, conflicted Ennis with an awe-inspiring respect for the character. The 27-year-old actor delves deep to tug at the heartstrings without compromising the character's dignity.
Ledger's real-life girlfriend and mother to his daughter, Michelle Williams (from Dawson's Creek fame) plays the part of Elma, a small-town girl and wife to Ennis. Williams not only brings innocence but also strength to the character. If this performance is anything to go by, Williams and Ledger are set to become Hollywood's new power couple.
Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway bids farewell to Princess Diaries and challenges Hollywood to respect her as a serious adult actress. Her performance is competent, if a bit lacking in substance. Gyllenhaal compromises his teenage fan base for the sake of bringing immense compassion to an almost unlikable Jack Twist. He succeeds in adding subtle touches of callowness to Twist's character, enough irrationality to irritate you, but not enough to completely dislike him. The themes are carried more by what is not said, much like the quiet demeanor of the main character. This technique forces the actors to articulate emotion on gestures and expression, but also leaves a lot to audience interpretation.
Calling Brokeback Mountain a 'gay love story' does not give the movie justice, the focus is never on the homosexual element of the story, but rather the human element. Foremost, it's a story about love - the raw passion of human love in all its glory, without being afraid to touch on the ugly bits. A showcase of the power struggle between head and heart, embracing the complexities of life and the unfavorable standards set by society.
- Ashlin Simpson
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