Reviewer's Rating 5 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Brokeback Mountain (2006)
15Contains strong language, moderate sex and violence

While the notion of gay cowboys may induce some sniggering in the back row, Brokeback Mountain is a masterclass in subtle directing. That's not to say Ang Lee shies away from sex; indeed the passion between the lovers is shockingly brutal. But it's a testament to his sensitive handling, and fearlessly vulnerable performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, that this love story between two ranch hands stands for something essentially human. It is both raw and exquisite.

In 1963 the sexual revolution has yet to hit Wyoming where the taciturn Ennis (Ledger) and extrovert Jack (Gyllenhaal) are thrown together on a sheep-herding job. When camaraderie develops into something more intimate, the script (based on Annie Proulx's short story) leans towards Ennis and his struggle to reconcile his feelings with resignation to "the way things are". Years pass and both men marry and have children, but denial of their bond only makes it stronger.

"ACHING CLAUSTROPHOBIA"

Ennis' ambiguity bleeds through the story with quiet foreboding. Each time he rebuffs Jack, he slips deeper within himself and Ledger plays it in every physical gesture - literally hunched in the shadow of his Stetson. In some ways Gyllenhaal is more sympathetic as the incorrigible optimist, but there is always an aching claustrophobia about their predicament, poignantly offset by sweeping mountain vistas. The images reflect the heartbreak and beauty of a tortured love affair and, without resorting to pat sentimentality, Lee builds to a stirring and soulful finale. Brokeback Mountain is a truly epic romance story from a director at the peak of his powers.

End Credits

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana

Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid

Genre: Drama, Romance, Western

Length: 134 minutes

Cinema: 06 January 2006

Country: USA

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