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Brokeback Mountain: movie of the year?

By David Ostrowsky

Section: Arts

February 3, 2006

I enjoy watching cowboy films.

Whats not to like? We have our good guys and our bad guys. We are transplanted into a time period and setting that is presumably far simpler, more tranquil than our everyday lives. In Ang Lees Brokeback Mountain, the cowboy setting is a diversion from the hardships of the characters everyday lives.

Within the beautiful and pristine nature of back country Wyoming are Jack and Ennis trying to make a living in the rugged outdoors. They are cowboys just like John Wayne or any other cowboy in Hollywoods history of cowboys. Yet the movie centers around their unconventional love affair, rather than their profession. The first half hour or so revolves around the outdoors, which in itself could make for an interesting movie. Suddenly the movie takes an abrupt turn to its focal point: Jack and Ennis romantic relationship.

Jack and Ennis are two young men employed as temporary cowboys for the summer. As they spend the majority of their time in each others exclusive company, they soon realize they share a bond;

their romantic interest in each other. What at first appears as a temporary relationship evolves in their adulthood as an inseparable romance. Because the movie occurs in a traditional, narrow minded 1960s western community, homosexuality is a taboo concept, and Jack and Ennis are reluctant to come out. Oh, and Jack and Ennis both have families of their own at home. Jack and Ennis have to resort to taking fishing trips on sparse weekends out of the calendar year to spend intimate time with one another. The plot eventually advances in this two hour plus movie, after the characters fully develop into individuals of whom we have strong opinions.

Perhaps it is a bit long and parts of it could be omitted. Overall, the film moves along and keeps the audience eager to learn what ensues in the next scene. You wont be bored and in the end it is well worth the price of admission. Its hard to say if it will come away as picture of the year, but I would be surprised if it doesnt get nominated. There were many great movies in 2005 and this is one of them.

Is it an enjoyable movie? Not particularly. Brokeback Mountain may be a fictional story but it also symbolizes the hardships that many homosexuals have endured over the past half century. As Jack and Ennis become older they continue to face intolerance from neighbors, family and acquaintances for being in love. There also happen to be many upsetting and uncomfortable scenes. However, lack of enjoyment should not be confused with excellence.

Brokeback Mountain is in every way, shape and form an excellent film highlighted by the leading role of Heath Ledger. From the acting and directing to the gorgeous cinematography, this movie is worth going to see at nearby Embassy Cinema on Pine Street.

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