While the closing credits of “Brokeback Mountain” were scrolling down my TV screen yesterday night, what I was feeling was, most of all, the need to sit in front of my computer and share the emotions this movie had caused in me right away. I had to wait until the next morning to do it, but now that I’m here… I said it in the subject line, and I’ll say it again: this blew me away, and as another reviewer has said, it is a movie very likely to make history.
Director Ang Lee and lead actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal take the best advantage of a meaningful and thoughtful script that appeals to the emotional intelligence of the viewer with very, very few over-the-top moments. It would have been so easy while dealing with such material! But in such hands, no way. And the result is this gem of a movie.
Ang Lee puts in this all the care and gentleness already displayed in the direction of “Sense and Sensibility”, a movie that, at a first sight, bears very little resemblance of contents both to this one and to the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”-like productions of the director. Yet Lee’s trademark can be found in all of these, and his ability of picking good stories and directing them with the best level of emotional intensity is evident in the green landscapes of Wyoming as it is in Austen’s England or in a half-fantasy, half-reality Far East.
Heath Ledger is stunning in the leading role of Ennis, and as much as I admire Gyllenhaal’s performance as Jack, too, I pick him as the true king of this movie. His role is maybe the more demanding of the two, as his character is the one that is less eager to become aware of the attraction he feels for his friend, and more worried that someone might know about their relationship. His internal struggle bring the best acting moments of the movie, like the goodbye between the two men after the sheep herding season is over. “We might see each other again…” “Yes. Might be.” One word about the ladies: they may not have the big screen time, but they are all amazing in their small but wonderfully written roles. Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Linda Cardellini, Kate Mara and Anna Faris add a lot to the already great mosaic of thoughts and feelings that this movie is.
Its dealing with homosexuality in a relatively explicit way has brought this movie to the spotlight, but it would be a tremendous and unjust simplification to reduce it to a story of two gay cowboys. In fact, it would be a simplification to reduce it to any stereotype at all. It is, most of all, a movie of subtly and intelligently conveyed feelings that I cannot recommend enough. Let it speak to your heart.