Brokeback Mountain.

30Jun12

I’ve often wondered what it’s like for gay people to watch straight romance in films. Does your inability to connect to the sexuality of what you’re seeing hamper the emotional experience? I suspected so, but having caught Brokeback last night for the first time I now know that that’s nonsense.

This simple tale of two men who fall in love whilst working as cowboys one summer is, surprisingly, stunningly moving. I didn’t care much for The Ice Storm, but Ang Lee’s direction here is so appropriately understated that the story and the sources of the tragedy quietly speak volumes for themselves.

The same goes for the main character, Ennis: a man so reserved that he talks more with his eyes than his mouth. Ledger can carry that look of contemplation without needing dense dialogue, and we see the anger and fear and love even when he insists on keeping it pent up. He may adore his children and, for a time at least, his wife. But it’s evident that from the moment he met Jack on those gorgeous Wyoming mountains, he’d much rather be elsewhere. When they’re reunited, the ecstasy is blatant. But self-denial combined with insufferable social hostility ensured that the life they desired was impossible, and neither could live with that repression and heart-crushing realisation.

If there’s an agenda being pushed here, as has been claimed, then it’s nothing more than the mere message that love is inescapable and hard enough without the added pressure of it having to play out in hiding. If you want politics, watch Milk. The purpose here is hardly to derive any general points. Its emphasis is upon the specific story at hand: the characters that are hurt for no good reason because of the tyranny of social stigmas, their frustrated attempts to express themselves, and their hindered, doomed desires.

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One Response to “Brokeback Mountain.”

  1. 1 thebuttonsblog

    Everyone should see Brokeback Mountain irrespective of their sexuality. It’s a love story, one that sits comfortably among the other supreme versions of the star-crossed lovers tale. More than that, Brokeback is a lesson in the art of film making. You’re right to draw attention to the importance of what is not said, as equal to that which is. It is no coincidence that there is no dialogue for the first 10-15 minutes of the movie.

    It is a film that touches the soul, and stays with you long, long after the experience of watching it is over.


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