Sunday, February 05, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Middlebrow and I saw "Brokeback Mountain" last night with our friends Sylvia and Don.
Even though I was prepared for it to be incredibly sad, I was not prepared for it to be simultaneously aesthetically beautiful and emotionally devastating. I was surprised by how early I started crying, and how much I cried. I thought I could see where it was going the first time Jack sees Ennis, but I was shocked by the ending, and by the sheer rawness of the entire film. There were so many uncomfortable scenes, that were uncomfortable for so many reasons.
I definitely think this movie will win for cinematography. And I think Heath Ledger will be hard to beat. In any other year, Phillip Seymour Hoffman would be the hands down winner. But Ledger's restrained performance is just unbeatable. Same for the movie overall. I think seeing "Brokeback Mountain" explains why "Walk the Line" wasn't even nominated. "Walk" is a great film, don't get me wrong, I loved it, but compared to the emotional landscape of "Brokeback Mountain," I just don't think any other film can compete. The story's complexity, the difficulty of the characters' lives, the brilliance of all the performances: "Brokeback Mountain" is the whole package.
I predict Ang Lee will win for Best Director, and the movie will win for Best Picture. It may win for best Adapted Screenplay as well. And Cinematography. And Heath will win. I think Jake has a good shot at Best Supporting. I forget who else is nominated.
I have yet to see "Crash" or "Munich" which I understand are good films, but I can't imagine they could be better than "Brokeback Mountain."

6 comments:

Lisa B. said...

You have nailed it, Dr. W. I saw just the previews of Brokeback last night, and found myself all emotional. Devastating is the right word.

I hate caring about the Academy Awards, but sometimes I just feel so passionate about a particular performance or movie or something, and this is one of them. I think PSHoffman gives an amazing and also devastating performance, but Heath Ledger's in this film does more with less. The ending is almost unbearable, it's so sad.

Sleepy E said...

Is Crash actually good? I rented it about three months ago and shut it off after ten minutes. It seemed so written, so manipulative, so heavyhanded. I made it to the scene where Matt Dillon (nominated? wtf?) was groping the African American lady after pulling them over. I just hated it. Really really hated it.

Lisa B. said...

I saw all of Crash, and despite many people whose judgement I respect having liked it, I thought it was, as you say, "written." That said, I can see why people feel it's worthwhile, as it's trying for something. Munich, on the other hand, is big and messy, and though flawed, far more cinematic.

susansinclair said...

I loved BM, though ultimately, I wish the movie could've been structured differently. Perhaps more of a flashback movie, with emphasis on the long process of falling in love that summer? But what is so wrenching is the loss of love due to the horrible conditions of a heterosexist culture. Kind of the reason we get so involved in Romeo and Juliet.

As for Crash, I liked it, but it was definitely manipulative, which I think is what you mean by "written." It works awfully hard. On the other hand, I think receiving the SAG for ensemble cast was well deserved. And I think it would open up great discussions in a writing class...

Dr. Write said...

I like the comment about structure and will have to think about it. As a rule, I'm against too many flashbacks in a movie, but I think the one at the end, where Ennis is hugging Jack, is so powerful because it is one of so few flashbacks and the immediacy of the present tense is part of what makes the movie so devastating. And I think, for me, part of the love story is how they, and we, are overtaken by it, suddenly and completely.

lis said...

At the beginning of Brokeback, I had a hard time believing either Heath or Jake in their roles. I'm not sure what it was, but I just couldn't accept them in their rural Wyoming setting and Ledger's taciturn approach seemed a little too overplayed. It probably didn't help my viewing that I've always viewed him as a throwaway actor, who was just getting by with his cute accent (and this may be because the first thing I saw him in was 10 Things I Hate About You). But by the end of Brokeback, I was completely taken in by his performance. I thought it was one of the best, most surprising performances I've seen. I completely agree--devastating.