Much hyped and nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Brokeback Mountain is finally playing at a theatre near me, almost a month after its initial limited release.
Was it worth the wait? By and large, yes. It’s a quality film, but it falls short of being in my top 15 films from the last year.
Aussie Heath Ledger doesn’t say a whole lot in the film. In fact, when an old girlfriend stumbles across him, she notes that at least her new beau talks to her. He is superb as a Marlboro Man with few words and yet he has passions that run deep. At the same time, he seems numb to others around him, or perhaps, is blinded by his yearnings. He’s nominated for Best Actor but I would give that award to Phillip Seymour Hoffman for his starring role in Capote.
Michelle Williams was also excellent in her limited role as Ennis’ wife Alma. It’s very noticeable that when Jack is meeting at Ennis’ to go “fishing”, Ennis is animated with anticipation. The rest of the time, he’s lifeless and boring around his family and wife. And she broods and simmers, frustrated by being unable to find the words. She has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. I haven’t seen Junebug or North Country, but I have seen The Constant Gardener and Capote and based on these performances, I would give the Oscar to Michelle Williams.
Best Supporting Actor nominee Jake Gyllenhall just didn’t strike me as being really top notch. There was more story focused on Heath Ledger’s character, thus curtailing Gyllenhall’s chances to shine. I would be surprised if he beats Paul Giamatti or Matt Dillon for the Oscar.
Randy Quaid plays a small role during their one summer on the mountain and he is excellent as their humourless, bigoted boss.
How do you separate Ang Lee‘s Best Director nomination from the Best Picture nomination? I preferred both Crash and Munich for direction and I would give the Oscar to Canadian Paul Haggis for Crash. As for Best Picture, I would give it to Munich, but I’m betting that Brokeback Mountain will win.
Brokeback Mountain didn’t grab me as intensely as it has others. Sure, I could feel for the “forbidden love” story but I didn’t feel the “longing to be together” emotions as much as I thought I would. From that perspective, this sort of film has been done better before. I wouldn’t buy it on DVD nor would I go out of way to see it again.