So last night I went back to see Brokeback Mountain for a second time, wondering if I'd find it as moving and entrancing as the first time I saw it a week ago. Result? Yup, I was just as moved and I definitely think it is one of the best movies I have seen in ages.
SPOILER ALERT (DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE FILM):
Though I haven't necessarily been a fan of Westerns or John Wayne mythology in particular, I have long admired the spare, bleak, beautiful short stories by Raymond Carver and the deeply involving rural pastorals by novelist Richard Ford. So, even if I haven't read the work of Annie Proulx (except for the "Brokeback Mountain" short story as printed in the New Yorker magazine), I guess I was bound to love this amazingly spare, tragic, beautifully filmed movie.
From the opening shot of a truck driving through majestic mountains in the dark to the first words spoken in the film, the silence is what sticks with you, the leisurely pace in which the film stakes its ground. What follows is a tortured love story that rings true in almost every scene, with unsung glory for Rodrigo Prieto, the film's cinematographer.
Criticisim has come from every angle: From right wing nuts who call this tortured romance an ad for homosexuality, to gays who wish the film was a little bit gayer (as in "Will and Grace" or "In and Out"? Ugh!). From those who take Heath Ledger to task for falling in love with on-screen wife Michelle Williams (supposedly in order to prove his non-gayness!). Or those who want people to stop calling it a 'gay movie' because they want to see it as a parable for everyone (not sure everyone will stay through the first fuck, no condoms, just saliva, after all the story does begin in 1963). Some might even have some issues with the characterization of Latinos in the film (there are several Mexican ranch-hands who speak Spanish to each other but remain largely non-descript as well as scene that takes place in a weirdly conceptualized Puebla, Mexico right out of Fassbinder's "Querelle") but I'm not sure there's anything there. Then there are those who fret that the film won't break through the $100 million mark once it goes into wide release today. I say: Who cares!! If you wanna see an amazing movie go see Brokeback (and if you're weary about homo sex, you just can go to "The Straight Dude's Guide to Brokeback" and then enjoy!).
So, in a few words: GO SEE IT.
In the meantime, the one last thing I await is for CP to review it. More than anyone I know, he'll be someone who can review the film with some life experience behind him. In the meantime, I'll keep on saying this is just one amazing film.
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