Brokeback Mountain

Director: Ang Lee

U.S.A.| 2005. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 134 min.

The latest film from the director of Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm is a love story so epic in scale, so intimate in its emotions, and so heartbreaking in its portrayal of forbidden love, that it literally takes one’s breath away. Adapted with consummate skill and characteristic sensitivity from Annie Proulx’s eponymous short story, Ang Lee’s film traces the twenty-year love affair between Wyoming ranch hand Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Texan rodeo cowboy Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) from its very first spark, on the side of a mountain in Signal, Wyoming, where the two men spend the summer of 1963 tending a herd of sheep belonging to testy local rancher Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid).
Working, eating and sleeping in the wild, Ennis and Jack forge a unique and lasting bond, a love and friendship strong enough to survive many social and emotional obstacles, including their subsequent marriages: in Ennis’s case to his childhood sweetheart, Alma (Michelle Williams), and in Jack’s to rodeo queen Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). Meeting only two or three times a year, ostensibly for fishing trips, Ennis and Jack face the same problems as any long-time partner—commitment, fidelity, trust—but with the added burden of knowing that they can never reveal their feelings for one another to another living soul.
Lee’s flawless direction, and the screenplay by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, combine a broad epic sweep with the most delicate nuances of emotion, as the two lovers hide their intense feelings beneath their cowboy hats for two decades. The extraordinary performances by Ledger and Gyllenhaal convey a raw manly desire laced with an underlying vulnerability and fear.

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