Sunday, December 25, 2005
All other hype aside, this movie is about love. And passion, sometimes rapturously indulged but too often wistfully unrequited by the unforgiving vagaries of time, circumstance, social norms, and personal responsibility.
And it’s about loneliness and fear and the kind of lingering longing and unspoken despair that you really have to have experienced to truly understand.
Ang Lee has crafted an evocative, lyrical, beautifully canvas on which the colors…lush and verdant and passionately expansive when the protagonists are alone together in and about the titular locale; bleak and tattered and filled with cool, plaintive emotional distance most other times…bring life to the spare, almost poetic, story (based on the fine Annie Proulx story with a screenplay co-written by the masterful Larry McMurtry.)
Jake Gyllenhaal is fine as the more effusive (relatively speaking) Jack but the story belongs to Heath Ledger’s Ennis, a taciturn, lonely man who doesn’t know what to do with his true feelings so he keeps them bottled up as tightly as he possibly can. Ledger’s performance is remarkable in its restraint…in the quiet that he effortlessly inhabits.
As the wives of these men, Anne Hathaway and, especially, Michelle Williams are remarkable in displaying palpable emotional range even though they have scant few lines of dialogue between them.
Brokeback Mountain is not an easy movie…it draws you into its world but it doesn’t let you experience it passively…but it is a wonderfully bittersweet, engaging (if you give its slow, deliberate pace and foreboding undertones a chance)…heartbreaking and emotionally-resonant…movie indeed.