Monday, August 8, 2011

"I Finally Saw Brokeback Mountain!"

"You gonna do this again next summer?"-Jack Twist
 I had really wanted to watch Blue Valentine last night, but the film was not in the redbox or on Instant Netflix so I decided to watch something else. I had heard so much about Ang Lee's 2005 Brokeback Mountain when it first came out and like everyone else, I was curious. Especially since it featured one of my favorite actors, the incomparable Heath Ledger. I decided to finally watch it as day four of my movie experiment.
How glad I am. I thought Brokeback Mountain was going to be one of those languid films with lots of long shots of nature and light streaming through trees. While there were plenty of those, the pace was definitely not slow. I think it would be so easy for a director to let the landscape take over the film. Lee manages to showcase the beautiful scenery without letting it overpower the film. While the titular mountain played a large role, it is the story not the setting that take prescience.
The story itself is so powerful. I could care less about politics or controversy; I just like good films and this was a damn good film. One of the main things that made this story work was that it was believable. There was such a raw emotional force that drove the film and made you feel for the characters. I think most of that came from the phenomenal Heath Ledger. I found myself fuming while watching this film because I was angry that he was dead. This man was an amazing actor; I knew that he lost himself in his roles, but I hadn't realized how completely until I saw this film. I could hardly believe that this man was the same who had played the loose-cannon Joker and the heroic William Thatcher. He had so much left to give; I would have loved to see what other things he could have done with his career because I know that he could have been up there with some of the greats. He had the power to reveal so much about his character solely through his expressions; every emotion is etched plainly on the face. His performance is so powerful despite the fact that his dialogue is very minimal.
I think it is Heath's complete commitment and devotion to his character that makes Jake Gyllenhall look weak, not actually any fault of his. Jake did a good job, but good is not good enough when your acting against Heath Ledger. I found it hard to believe Jake's character and the idea that he actually lived the cowboy lifestyle. He seemed like one of those men who doesn't have a blister on his hand. On the other hand, you could see the cowboy etched on every line of Heath's face. His face, even when it wasn't doing anything, told a story.
The two did work well together however. The scenes with them meeting after years of being apart were emotionally touching and passionate. These were two people who loved each other despite insurmountable odds. The fact that they were both men matters little. Like I said before, their relationship was believable. Both actors played their parts with conviction; it would have been so easy just to walk through the roles and take a paycheck, but they made me feel for them and become absorbed in their story which is ultimately a love story. Gender and sexuality matter little when a story is told as powerfully as this one.  People can say whatever they want, but I thought this film was beautiful, touching, and emotionally stirring.
Honestly, it reminded me of Joe Wright's Atonement in style, pace, and emotional impact. Both films portrayed doomed love in such a manner that you could not help but root for the characters despite the fact that you know their love will not succeed.
I really commend Ang Lee for making this film and for doing it right. Everything worked from the cast, to the setting, and costumes and make-up. He managed to create a highly unconventional, yet wholly believable love story.
Review: No Milk Need. But more Heath needed in life. Much more. R.I.P sweet Prince.

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