I saw Brokeback Mountain the other night. I was looking forward to it since the reviews have been so good and I’ve always like Ang Lee. It’s funny that a lot of people of my generation are into this “revisionist” history thing when me and my friends growing up (once I got friends, that is — I went through this weird drought from fifth through seventh grade in which I had very few friends. It all changed when I began to play basketball with a group of kids that I was desperate to impress. Impress them I did, both with my near-perfect free throw abilities and my spot-on stealing abilities, the latter of which I put to good use swiping a couple of Penthouses for my new comrades, an act that solidified my status as someone with a social life) didn’t ever talk about westerns, Clint Eastwood, or cowboys. We were into Star Wars, the Karate Kid, and Superman more than any of that stuff.
Anyway, high in anticipation, I went to see Brokeback Mountain.
It is one of the greatest movies I have seen years. I’m not kidding. I have no idea why it got into my head the way it did, but as the movie progressed from beautiful shots of Ennis and Jack’s mountain idyll where they first fall in love, to their heartbreaking years apart, to the end of the film and the reappearance of The Shirt, I was more and more drawn into their relationship, rooting for it, hating the world for not allowing it. Every time the familiar swell of a simple guitar and synth line appeared I moved closer to a solid weep.
Jake Gyllenhaal was very good, but Heath Ledger was completely absorbing. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. On the surface he showed very little emotion, but there was subtlety to his performance that has surprised everyone. If his words didn’t express the pain of Ennis’ love for Jack, his eyes and expression gave it away. I have no idea how he did it. I was rooting for him during last night’s Golden Globes; Capote was great and Philip Seymour Hoffman deserves a best actor award, but I think Heath deserves it more.
By the end of the movie I was immobilized, totally destroyed. I can’t stop thinking about it.