Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain ★★★★½

I avoided this for some time, partly down to how mainstream an example it’s become for on-screen LGBT stories, but also in slight fear of perceiving it as nothing other than Oscar-bait. I’m relieved to say I was entirely wrong in my preconceptions. Rodrigo Prietio’s landscape photography is gorgeous, the agricultural detail of rural Wyoming is authentic, and the painfully crushing heartache is real. Gyllenhaal and Ledger give outstanding performances which quietly build into a lustful depression, letting the pot boil throughout as the brilliance of Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway support the framework. Granted, it gets a little forceful with the ‘western is a western’ score, and the passing of time feels a lot more rushed than it should do, but it‘s near impossible to undercut the emotional content of a picture this rich. The final scene is yet more proof of the tragic loss Ledger represented to the medium; a searing demonstration of talent as nuanced as it comes. Buttoning up the internal sadness is all people like Ennis could ever do, but at least he still had Brokeback Mountain.

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