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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 12/14/2005 1:00:19 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 1:00:38 PM EDT by DocBrooks]
Movie about 2 gay cowboys



What has until now been termed - sometimes derisively, sometimes humorously, always warily - as "the gay cowboy movie" is in fact titled "Brokeback Mountain," director Ang Lee's ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") latest film based on the National Magazine Award-winning short story by E. Annie Proulx ("The Shipping News").

Like many prospective viewers, star Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the passionate, playful and ultimately sorrowful rodeo-rider/ranch hand Jack Twist, was skeptical.

"You have a judgment before you experience anything," he says, his stoic face beginning to crack a wry grin. "And I didn't want anything to do with (the film)."

The smile belies the feeling that he is grateful for the experience and relieved that he put his sexuality on the backburner for a film that is, ostensibly, a love story of the American West. Says director Lee: "After screenings, people stop calling it 'the gay cowboy movie' and call it a 'love story.'"

In essence, Lee is right. The film is about two twenty-something sheep herders (the other, Ennis Del Mar, is played by Heath Ledger), who meet on Brokeback Mountain in Signal, Wyoming during the summer of 1963 and begin an affair that stretches forth through the ensuing decades, punctuated by "fishing trips," marriages, newborns and, most of all, by a crushing secrecy.

As you already may have guessed, the secret is that the two men are gay in an area of the country - the rural tracts of land that lie somewhere between the huge flat swaths of northern Texas and the rugged foothills of the Wyoming Rockies - even today known as a place where homosexuality is scarcely tolerated, if at all.

It is, according to Lee, an update on a Romeo-and-Juliet kind of story but with "new material (and) obstacles," these placed by society instead of family but still brimming with the "confusions, chaos and complexities" of "the same old story."

Thus, the setting of the film must not be underestimated in its importance and Lee's greatest triumph is in conveying both the grandiosity of the landscape and the feeling of entrapment that characterizes, not only the lives of the two men, but that of the rural West in general, where it is not uncommon to live in the same town for an entire lifetime.

His camera allows the action to float to the corners of the frame while he lingers, as though distracted by the beauty of the landscape or of the great expanse of blue sky, on a mountain crag of cloud in the distance.

The space he conceives and shows reflects a kind of freedom for the characters: In such a setting, far from the madding crowd, two men may fall in love and only vaguely consider the consequences.

Those consequences some into stark relief, however, when the action shifts from the unconstrained passion of Brokeback Mountain - to which the men will periodically return - to the tight and dusty confines of small-town Americana. Lee beautifully crafts the barely hopeful grunginess of farms falling into decrepitude; everything is close, tight, wary; the feeling, despite the plains that stretch for miles outside, is one of claustrophobia.

"(Jack and Ennis) both have to function as family men in society," Lee said, pitting "personal free will versus social obligations." The musty, stale atmosphere Lee creates with close-ups and a decor of mismatched clutter is one where the two men are unable to breathe, forced into a dark dissatisfaction with the expectations they must unwillingly fulfill.

Indeed, Gyllenhaal said, a city slicker who had to undergo an intense period of training for the film such as learning how to ride a horse, one does not have to be gay to identify with the characters. The difficulty of "always hiding something, of pretending," is one common among all people, particularly actors.

"I struggle where I don't have that inherent ability," he said, and that need - for it is not a want but a necessity - to be something one is not "was an integral part of the character."

Even the love scenes - which, in the end, will probably get a few curious but otherwise uninterested filmgoers - have "a performance aspect," says Gyllenhaal, "similar to a kind of fighting."

There is a ferocity, even a kind of self-loathing, boiling beneath the ripping-off-of-clothes, jamming-tongue-down-throat intensity of the scenes that is much more convincing than the tepid caresses other directors and actors may have preferred.

Distance, it seems, like the heart, makes the libido grow fonder. Only able to satiate their desires by meeting two or three times a year or picking up prostitutes "down there" (in Mexico), when the men finally do meet, the first flush returns with the same burn, the same power, of their initial encounter.

Yet something is lacking. Gyllenhaal does solid, if unremarkable, work (he's much better in "Jarhead," and one wonders if it may be the fact that he seems an unlikely cowboy and quite a likely soldier), while Ledger, smoldering and gritting his teeth, possesses a great quiet power. He is the strong silent type and thus does not over-emote on Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana's mostly brilliant and excitingly authentic dialogue.

The real treat here is Michelle Williams, who plays Ledger's wife. Her pain in realizing her husband's affair, even after their divorce, sneaks up on her, providing moments of quiet desperation, of heart-rending disappointment in the cards life has dealt her. Yet she, like the men, like everyone in this world - which is triumphantly convincing, save for the lead actors' uncannily good looks and unbelievably slow aging - must trudge onward.

"Brokeback Mountain" may not endure as the love story it is billed to be.

Despite the fire that characterizes the relationships, one is left slightly cold at the end of the film rather than warmed by the possibilities of human connection. The real beauty in the film is its ability to create a full and nearly real world, running parallel to our own, at times crisscrossing it to a devastating effect.

Lee and film deserve accolades as brilliant conveyors of the odd mix of nostalgia and repressed self-loathing that characterizes the oft violent, oft desperate but always breathtaking American West.




Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:02:29 PM EDT
I somehow haven't heard about this film yet.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:03:39 PM EDT
AGNTSA.

Bareback Mountin' is up to its ass in Golden Globe nominations per fark....
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:04:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 1:05:13 PM EDT by CZ75_9MM]
Damn, another movie about 2 gay cowboys.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:05:02 PM EDT
Where the hell have you been?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:06:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CZ75_9MM:
Damn, another movie about 2 gay cowboys.



I hear this one doesn't have puddin' in it.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:06:48 PM EDT
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<­BR>That's one "U" for each time there's been a thread in GD about the ghey cowbhoys
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:15:18 PM EDT
They aren't cowboys, daggone it, they are sheepherders.
No surprise there...

Ohio
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:19:00 PM EDT
fuckem' just more homo crap being pushed out to try and "Normalize" this abnormal behaviour
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:19:00 PM EDT
Fudge packing cowboys is s00000 yesterday.

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:19:40 PM EDT
Another movie on the don't watch list.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:20:11 PM EDT
In other news, Francisco Franco is still dead.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:21:28 PM EDT
Lots of "Cowboy Up!" threads going on, but that was the most boring story about it yet.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:23:16 PM EDT
All I can say is "WOW". DUPE

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:23:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DocBrooks:


....................The film is about two twenty-something sheep herders .............. who meet on Brokeback Mountain in Signal, Wyoming during the summer of 1963 and begin an affair ................



So they have all these sheep and yet..............What an unmitigated waste.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:26:18 PM EDT
Yes, but what about the pudding?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:28:43 PM EDT
Dupity Dupity Dupity...
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:29:20 PM EDT
I'd heard about the movie, but had no idea it was about two homo cowboys. And Tommy Lee Jones is in it??
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:37:29 PM EDT
Very romantic movie.

Gay cowboy sex?
What the fuck has the world come to?

Are we this morally bankrupt?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:45:29 PM EDT
Who cares? I don't, and guess what? I am not going to go see it. It's just that simple. Don't like it, don't watch it.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 1:52:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By callgood:

Originally Posted By DocBrooks:


....................The film is about two twenty-something sheep herders .............. who meet on Brokeback Mountain in Signal, Wyoming during the summer of 1963 and begin an affair ................



So they have all these sheep and yet..............What an unmitigated waste.







Apparently, their sheep aren't nervous.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:02:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sigurd:

Originally Posted By callgood:

Originally Posted By DocBrooks:


....................The film is about two twenty-something sheep herders .............. who meet on Brokeback Mountain in Signal, Wyoming during the summer of 1963 and begin an affair ................



So they have all these sheep and yet..............What an unmitigated waste.







Apparently, their sheep aren't nervous.



No, they just left those parts for the special extended edition DVD.

(FYI, it also comes with a free pack of pudding).
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:06:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DzlBenz:
In other news, Francisco Franco Tookie Williams is still dead.



Fixed
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:07:05 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:11:49 PM EDT
So what is the movie about?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 2:14:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sigurd:

Apparently, their sheep aren't nervous.



the sheep aren't nervous because they have the patented 'anti ghey cowboy device'

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:02:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ohio:
They aren't cowboys, daggone it, they are sheepherders.
No surprise there...

Ohio



I was wondering if someone was going to bring this up. When I worked summer jobs in 70's Wyoming, calling someone a sheepherder was fightin' words. No self respecting cowboy would have anything to do with sheep or sheepherders.

It was like calling someone a ni**er. You'd better be ready to fight.
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