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Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain
Directed by Ang Lee
Main cast Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Linda Cardellini, Anna Faris, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid
Rated M for moderate coarse language, moderate sex scenes, moderate violence.

Feeling I should see the movie first and make my judgments later I headed off with a mate to see Brokeback Mountain. Being a pair of men going to see this movie was itself as confronting as the brief sex scenes both gay and heterosexual in what is otherwise an outstanding film.

After all the uproar around its release Brokeback Mountain was not as exploitative as I had expected. While the relationship between the main characters oscillates between love and lust, the film is more a moving and heartbreakingly tragic drama than a pro-homosexual statement.

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx’ short story and co-adapted by fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry, the script and dialogue are as understated as the magnificent Wyoming and Texas scenery is spectacular.

Taiwanese director Ang Lee produces an almost melodic amalgamation of visual and narrative elements that, despite the provocative story line, makes this film close to a cinematographic triumph. Perhaps because of the many unanswered questions and a distinctly non-Hollywood, untidy ending Brokeback Mountain has stayed with me. Every character is outstandingly played and so believable I could only wonder at the painful consequences the men’s infidelities would reap on each extended relationship.

Despite all the anti-gay controversy Brokeback Mountain is a story of people with very conventional attitudes about homosexuality. And while the love is forbidden, thwarted and tragic, this is none-the-less a powerful story about relationships that challenges conventional and simplistic responses. Don’t just dismiss it as a gay cowboy movie; somewhere beyond the furore Brokeback Mountain will be remembered as magnum opus, a truly consummate film.