Obviously, Brokeback Mountain is not for everyone, as evidenced by how many people were too nervous to go see it in packed theaters during its extended run. It’s not what you expect either, since it has no mincing fairies, no comic-relief limp-wristed lisping queens, and absolutely no preaching, hidden messages or agendas. In fact the main character-Ennis (Heath Ledger) is probably one of the most “manly” men ever seen in a movie.
So let’s start with the DVD basics. If you’ve never seen the movie, watch it first. If you have seen the movie, watch all the extra features BEFORE you see it again. They are all a joy, though I should warn you they take a while to root through, but it’s time well spent and definitely forth it.
I found only one fault with the DVD – and that was that it needed a “deleted scenes” section; that I know exists because they’re there taunting you in the trailer I saw online. Heath and Jake are said to have had to shoot the kissing scenes at the bottom of the stairs 13 times, and they also had to shoot and reshoot the lovemaking in the tent, and darn it all, I wanted to see those outtakes! Oh well maybe in the “collector’s” edition.
About the Movie:
First of all, visually it’s in crystal clear focus. The many times I saw it in a theater, not once was it completely focused, but on DVD it’s an absolute joy. Since this is a very quiet film, you don’t have to deal with muffled explosions coming from the theater next to you either.
About the Story:
Two young men, a ranch hand, and a up-and-coming rodeo bull rider (Jake Gyllenhaal), (the very definitions of the word “cowboy”) are so down on their luck, that they’re forced to do something no cowboy wants to do — herd sheep over the summer on Brokeback Mountain. (Some have criticized this, asking how it could be a cowboy movie if they’re herding sheep… read on)
Simply put, straight men who see this movie identify with the main characters, before they realize that they have… and by then it’s too late. There lies the problem. The movie hits a little too close to home. Jack and Ennis regularly go camping in the wilderness, were brought up to own and use guns. They hunt elk and wild game; they fish, carry hunting knives and know how to survive in the forest on their own. They own dogs, love life on horseback, tend cattle, are tough enough to ride bulls in rodeos, live on ranches, date women, drink whiskey and beer, get into bar fights, and own and repair old pick-up trucks.
[ADBLOCKHERE]The two young men never planned or expected to fall into the situation they found themselves in, and have no idea how to react to it themselves, once they’ve realized what’s happened. The concept of a man falling in love with another man is so alien to them, that they don’t even know the words to describe their feelings; Ennis can only call it “This thing”.
When the summer ends, they go back to typical Western ranching, herding cattle and horses, competing in the rodeo, selling farm equipment and existing in the standard cowboy life, fathering children, attending church, Fourth of July celebrations, and arguing with their wives.
Some women will get bogged down with the two men cheating on their marriage vows, and that’s very valid, but the point of this tragic tale is that the intolerances of the time, that still exist now, have forced these men to make commitments they never wanted. Jack and Ennis were committed to each other before their marriages, and that bond lasted long after the ashes settled on their straight facades.
As for the objectionable “explicit” sex scenes so many bible pounders are up in arms about — Huh???? It must be the scenes between the husbands and their wives, because in the intimate scenes between the men — hell they’re never shown with their jeans off together, and only one is shirtless! Jake and Heath are shown completely nude (separately) only once each in the whole film, with no frontal nudity at all. Heath’s scene is out of focus to boot!
If all you attend a movie for is sex scenes, you’d be better off straight, gawking at the women in their sexy attire and bare breasts in the bedroom or the back seat of a T-bird. With all the sex in today’s movies between men and women bordering on pornography, it’s actually disappointing in a way that you don’t see the men expressing their physical love for each other. In fact, the sex between the men is done in classic Alfred Hitchcock fashion and you’ll swear you saw more than you actually did, because it’s left to your imagination (and wonderment as to what all the fuss was about.) After you’ve played it a second time you’ll be astonished that no sexual contact is actually shown at all – except what you “thought” you saw!
And there lies the proof. This movie’s purpose was definitely NOT made to put the “Sex” in homosexual, and is just a damned good simple love story, and anyone too scared to see it, is probably just too unsure of their own sexuality to admit it to themselves.
If ever a movie made you walk in someone else’s shoes, this is it.
So go grab your masculine pride, your wife/girlfriend to put on your arm to prove you’re straight, and head to the nearest video store, or department store, and rent or buy it. You’ll be shocked when you laugh, and then cry while seeing a damned good movie…
As you hit STOP on your remote, you’ll know undoubtedly, why the two shirts worn by Jack and Ennis brought in $101,100.51 (!) recently at auction to benefit a children’s charity, and the beat-up and rusted GMC truck that Jack drove at the opening fetched $70,000 dollars.
By the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, pay close attention to what happens to the shirts they wear up on the mountain, and to the horse and rider that Ennis whittles in the tent during the rain storm, you’ll see them again. Remember that this movie was made on a shoe-string budget, so ignore Heath’s empty pierced ear lobes, and the disappearing log that Jack almost splits, but then vanishes.
On a scale of five stars, I give this DVD ****** …Yes I can count, that’s six.