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Brokeback Mountain

by Archives December 7, 2005

Venise Film Festival’s recipient of the Lion d’Or for best picture is coming to our screens… but are we ready?

Set against the backdrop of a 1963 Wyoming ranch, Brokeback Mountain is based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx.

A ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy hired to work on the mountain strike up a strong relationhip that evolves from friendship to something deeper. Something they never expected.

After a few weeks in the rocky mountains, hormones start boiling. Two options are offered to them; they can either fool around with the sheep…or with each other.

As summer comes to an end, they both go back to their seperate lives and losing contact. But as they lead their seemingly happy lives, they can’t quite rid themselves of the lust-filled memories of their summer spent on Brokeback Mountain.

In this era, when homosexuality was seen as the eighth deadly sin, both men are forced to lead double lives in order to give way to their passion.

Even today, the taboo of male homosexuality still persists. Acclaimed director Ang Lee attacks prejudices in this movie that will shock a few, but move so many others. However laudable his attempt may be, mainstream audiences might not exactly be ready for such material. Some scenes are rather graphic though, and might leave some people squirming and fidgeting on their seats.

This all seems rather odd, considering female homosexuality, however, is viewed in the mainstream in a completely different fashion. More socially accepted, it is even glorified in many movies.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both deliver solid performances as two men torn between their lust for each other and their desire to fit in.

In spite of their obvious talent, the two heterosexual actors whose love-lives have provided tabloids with countless cover stories, end up seeming somewhat awkward in their characters.

Dawson’s Creek’s Michelle Williams and Princess Diaries’s Anne Hathaway complete the cast as the two cowboys’ spouses. Although Williams seems suited to playing the a pitiful creature, seeing Hathaway break the Disney mould by boldly removing her bra is… well, let’s just say that nothing breaks children’s dream like introducing audiences to your breasts.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s director Ang Lee ditches his native China for our very own Canadian landscape. Shot on location in and around Calgary, Brokeback Mountain’s imagery is nothing short of breath-taking.

Athough Brokeback Mountain is a pretty well done movie, its slow pace will lose some viewers, especially as the movie already feels quite long at over two hours.

Brokeback Mountain will be released at AMC and Ex-Centris on December 16. Wider release is scheduled on December 23.

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