My review of Brokeback Mountain Feb 1, 2009
Customers considering to purchase of this movie in DVD are urged to read the full story by E. Annie Proulx in either the collection of short stories in Close Range: Wyoming Stories or in it?s single story publication after the movie was released. Brokeback Mountain is a timeless love story involving two down and out cowboys with no future to speak of and a horribly maligned past. The kind of past we wish not even on our worst of enemies that only they could, if they only could, walk away from but ultimately cannot go very far. While Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar had a terrific roll and he played it with the magic that only he must have discovered reaching deep into his own soul even while filming on set. I can imagine that even he may have questioned this depth in his own honesty as he dealt with the depth he portrayed as Ennis Del Mar? His character was and is truly amazing given his prior rolls done in safe environs. It is his ultimate telling roll that was his for the taking or for loosing in a Hollywood lie, and he played it well. While recently cut down in the morning light of his oh so fantastic career much like James Dean of another past generation so bound in the confines of times we can only wish were in the past. The part played by Jake Gyllenhall as Jack Twist was one of being remembered as only Ennis could have or would have remembered him as Jack Twist his partner and love interest of 20 years. Eye candy in every scene seems such a simplistic description. Truly simplistic maybe even shallow as Ennis saw his partner in relationship to himself and his needs through those tumultuous 20 years. If the story be told from its basic beginnings in the book by E. Annie Proulx one would get it even more the extent of his part in this tragic drama. The book opens with and where the movie takes us in its closing moments with Ennis Del Mar standing in his ratty little trailer, forced to first feed his physical needs and then to face his mirror looking back those haunted eyes, and the postcard of his barest of memories then pulled into that shirt the makings of more than 20 years of memories mostly probably needfully ready to break down and ultimately with the knowledge that he must be ready to push on to some other no name job somewhere in the shadows of the only place that he had known in the American West. The words mumbled his audience in tears knows full well his despair. I would predict that the shirt will be the ruby slippers of the Boomer Generation. The only place where no matter how rough the life or how dirty and demeaning it became. He understood, could not escape, and was sucked into that life as deep as his soul would take him as his only escape from what he knew to be so true of himself. The short and to often spoken truth in which John Q. Public reacts to this knowledge of their relationship with Randy Quaid playing the boss Joe Aguirre as Jack is told to hit the road there is not work for his kind. Finally coming to grips with his needs one more time that of coming alive in the arms of his male lover in a way that Anne Hathaway as Alma (Beers) Del Mar his wife could never have pulled from him and she knew it. That he questions Linda Cardellini who plays Ennis?s daughter Alma Jr. in the experience of love the way it could have been finding that she is engaged to be married. While his daughter loves him just as he is to her. Ang Lee leaves open to the rarest of possibilities; that being could Ennis have then opened the dialogue with his daughter? I wondered? My thoughts turn to the Dustin Hoffman movie as he cries out "ELAINE" in the closing scenes of ?The Graduate? with the knowledge that he had nowhere to turn save taking up a gun and placing it inside his mouth had it not been for those oh so few lines delivered by his daughter. Telling moments that made and spilled over the depth that the film maker brought to the movie; as much then as in the color of the eye and look of Alma when she finds Ennis alive with his needs in a way the she could not have brought in her husband. Does Ennis even understand how he came alive in that moment on the steps in Wyoming those 4 years later after Brokeback? Could Michelle Williams playing Lureene Williams the trophy wife turned business woman have understood her husband?s broken lover? The fishing story and the notes left were simply a need that Alma found to try opening dialogue with her former husband that it was possibly okay after all that she finally came to understand but it was to late and that conversation never happened. To the hand on his shoulder by Jack Twist's mom as she knew and left her son's room to be found when it was most needed and necessary to be found as it was. The tiny carved wooden cowboy on his horse started that summer on Brokeback exquisitely completed on that bare desk fondled by his lover. Did she then as Ennis discovered understand the message that her son left? Could Mrs. Twist have discussed all this with the Buck Duck on the Pond her nameless husband? We all have our one summer on Brokeback, our fishing notes, and our need to be safe and accepted so thanks again for yours you are a true inspiration Mr. Lee. To notice the cleanliness but stark simplicity of the Twist home notice that it is so clear that Jack was the only rainbow in his mother?s life. How many rainbows do we experience in the lives of others around us I marvel every day of my life. This movie will get you where it hurts and will not let you go if you have one ounce of courage in your own soul.