Brokeback Mountain (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byMatthew Turner04/01/2006

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 135 mins

Ang Lee’s so-called gay western is a surefire Oscar contender. It’s a moving, deeply romantic drama with gorgeous photography and terrific performances.

What’s it all about?
Based on the acclaimed short story by Annie Proulx, the film is set in Wyoming in 1963. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, a pair of farmhands whose camaraderie develops into a sexual relationship during a summer spent tending sheep on Brokeback Mountain.

When the summer ends, the two men go their separate ways. However, after four years the two men meet up again and discover their feelings for each other are stronger than either of them realized.

The Good
Lee’s direction is superb, skilfully combining epic landscapes and heartbreaking emotional drama with a wealth of finely observed character detail. Some of the most powerful moments come from looks, glances and the characters’ unspoken reactions, particularly Michelle Williams when she discovers her husband’s secret.

The Great
The performances are outstanding. Gyllenhaal’s increasingly desperate optimism is almost painful to watch and there’s strong work from both Michelle Williams and – rather more surprisingly – from Anne The Princess Diaries Hathaway, who also makes her topless debut in an exceptionally cunning marketing strategy.

However, the stand-out is Heath Ledger, who gives a career best performance as the mumbling, emotionally reticent Ennis. Nothing in Ledger’s string of previously wooden performances can prepare you for how good he is here - the deep seated sense of heartfelt longing he conveys is devastating to watch.

Worth seeing?
In short, Brokeback Mountain is an early contender for one of the best films of 2006 and if there’s any justice, it’ll reap huge rewards come Oscar time. Unmissable.

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Brokeback Mountain (15)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 19:42

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