Now Playing: A Review of Brokeback Mountain
Topic: Movie Reviews
Brokeback Mountain, so the media said, was the most gut-wrenching love story of the year. But, where was the love? Jack (played Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis (played by Heath Ledger) seemed more like really good buddies, who just happened to fuck because there were no women around. They horsed around (no pun intended), drank, fought, and shot the shit. Even when they did appear to share their emotions, neither one ever uttered the word “love.” The closest the audience comes to seeing that they are truly in love is when Ennis becomes jealous of Jack’s gay dalliances in Mexico. Only love or hate can inspire such a strong emotion as jealousy, and from their years of being fuck buddies we know that they didn’t hate each other.
Brokeback Mountain was a good movie. Heath Ledger was perfect as Ennis—the tight-lipped and emotionally congested cowboy. The only time he ever let his guard down or succumbed to the niceties of people was when he was with Jack. (He allowed Jack to tenderly caress him, and found rest by snuggling in his arms.) The only emotion he ever let himself show in public was violence. I got the sense that when he got into fights with other men he was really trying to beat up himself. For that performance, Heath Ledger deserved all the accolades he received and may have even been jerked by the Academy for an Oscar. (Michelle Williams and Jake Gyllenhaal also turned in Oscar-worthy performances.)
Jake Gyllenhaal used his lanky frame and doe-eyes to his best advantage as the bull rider with the fantastical dreams. From the first time Jack reached out to Ennis, you knew that it was over for Ennis. Jack turned him out, but it was Ennis who held the power in the relationship by being the emotional recluse—forcing Jack to always reach out for him. Jack was as starved for reciprocation as Ennis’ long-suffering wife, Alma. Jack and Alma were constantly waiting for Ennis to say the there magic words that they, themselves, were afraid to say in case they didn’t get the answer they wanted. His presence, as Alma learned the hard way, was not a guarantee of his love.
Again, I ask, where was the love? It was deep down somewhere in Ennis, where even Ennis was unable to touch and that was the biggest flaw of Brokeback Mountain. Nobody could reach Ennis’s heart.