Friday, February 03, 2006

More on Brokeback

Found this over on yahoo!movies. I wish I had written it, but I have neither the perspective nor the words. It's well worth sharing, though, so I hope the gentleman doesn't mind that I'm including it here:
I am outraged at all the critics and reviews of this movie! As a real "cowboy" from a real cattle ranch from western Nebraska, I patently take offense to calling a movie about a couple of sissy sheep herders a "GAY COWBOY MOVIE"!!
That is my only beef about this amazing movie. That and the fact that I made the mistake of seeing it by myself. I even went 40 miles away from my neck of the woods because I didn't want to be seen by anybody I knew going into a "gay cowboy" movie. I felt dirty. Like I was going into a porn flick or something.
I wanted to see it because I read Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories years ago. I am a fan of westerns and love cowboy lore and stories and her writings are always exceptional. Amongst her amazing reads, this book had a surprising short story at the end of it that shocked me in its direction and topic matter, and has haunted me ever since I read it. When I heard about Brokeback Mountain the Movie and realized it was made from that same riveting short story, I couldn't wait to see how bad Hollywood would ruin it.
After the first few minutes I was sucked comfortably in to this intense and lushly created movie. For the first time in a very long time (Star Wars maybe?) during a movie, I actually left the theater for an entire screening. Not literally. Not to object to the movie. But I left my awareness of where I was and who I was while I disappeared into a movie and lived it with the characters. I lived the life of an invisible ghost watching helplessly at an arm's length away from the aching and tortured lives of two men, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. And most importantly, I actually gave a crap about them.
It took me by surprise how Heath Ledger (yuk), and Jake Gyllenhaal (who has been a big blank girly idol with big doey eyes in every thing since Donnie Darko), transformed themselves into two of the most transfixing characters I have ever had the uneasy pleasure to watch. Ledger was...well...WOW! Gyllenhaal totally redeems himself as an actor in this flick as far as I am concerned. Those big eyes finally communicated and were capable of conveying, in a few seconds, pages of poignant dialog and meaning. He finally acted. And his mugging close ups were filmed so beautifully, hell, they even made me want to kiss this guy. They were perfectly cast in their roles and neither actor gave any sense that they were not completely one and in total comfort with the roles they portrayed so exceptionally well.
I went alone and by the end of this movie it felt like a boot was put up against my throat. Those last closing scenes were absolutely a suffocating emotional experience that came on like a slow locomotive driving down over your chest and heart. It just kept on coming and kept on getting heavier and heavier. I was absolutely claustrophobic in Jack's childhood room. I my eyes welled up like an artesian well and my heart ached for the openness and freedom of the Brokeback Mountain these two men fell in love at.
When the movie was done I was totally blown away. What the hell did I just see? I wanted to talk about it with somebody so bad. I never had a movie effect me so deeply, so emotionally.
I never have been in love, 'cept maybe with my dog. I didn't think I was capable and certainly didn't think I knew what love was anyway. I have been troubled by my emotional reaction this movie these past few days.
I went into it thinking I'd see some sleazy left wing gay soft porn filled with some of Hollywood's usual Bush hatin' liberal agenda. I left seeing a movie that truly captured by heart. Captured it and then shoved into my throat. That Annie Proulx is damn lucky that her beautiful story was in the hands of so many gifted people. They all clearly endeavored with respect to greatly surpass any expectation one could have for this movie and did not succumb to the obvious political correctness that dilutes Hollywood today. Director Ang Lee spectacularly cut to the throat and jugular of this story and kept his knife-like direction and camera unwaveringly there, pressing firm and hard enough to draw the real blood from this story and his actors.
Watching this movie I saw and felt love in all its hope and joy and gut wrenching sorrow. It panics me that it took a stupid movie to show it to me. Even the written story didn't have this same impact. I guess that's what has been bothering me these past few days. Half my life has past and I haven't felt a love one tenth of what Jack and Ennis were feeling. I fear I will end up just like Ennis except with out even the love to look back on.
This ain't no "Gay Cowboy" movie. To my Republican friends: Hollywood is worth boycotting but I would (and did) make an exception for this film and I am sure glad I did. This it Not for kids. A great couples flick or a buddy flick if you sit with a open seat between ya. Not a HINT of gay propaganda in it, all that propaganda is in the press, media and in reviews surrounding the likes of this one. In fact, it shows all the negative seams of that lifestyle in the most riveting and deeply portrayed ways possible.
If anything it is an anti-Gay movie. Who could suffer through all that these two men do to each other, with all the destruction to both their worlds around them, and the pain they inflict on themselves and each other and their families and not be completely ruined?
The staggeringly beautiful and only shining ray of light through this whole emotional landslide is the obvious love these two men have for each other. That love is like a brilliant shooting star that we see ignite and hop upon for a fast shooting ride through the time of their lives. We see their world illuminated only in that light, in that heat, and we are left in darkness when the shooting star abruptly ends.
It is because the focus is so tightly and unwaveringly, and so amazingly close-in to these two men, this one love, that the whole thing works in the most extraordinary way. That singular shine feeds the soul all the way through. Gay and liberal agendas didn't and don't have room or a place in this precision crafted film. This was about bigger things that transcend all that. This was about a love and lives unfulfilled.
And to all those gay people who are whining about the negative reviews and waving this film like a rainbow flag...I am afraid you didn't get the movie one damn bit either. It wasn't what I wanted to see.
It wasn't what I expected to see. It was what I anticipated. It sure did hit me like a freight train, though, and I had know idea how hard it was going to hit me. This is one good movie.
Absolutely beautifully and hauntingly painful to watch.


Judith HeartSong said...

wow.... I may have to go and see it. I don't do violence at all well now with the PTSD, and that is why I have avoided this film, but this review was a powerful testament. Thanks for sharing it.

Big hugs to you today my friend.

Lisa :-] said...

Great review. I have wanted to see this movie anyway... Now I REAlLY want to see it.

Kathryn said...

I saw the movie Sunday. It is Friday and I still can't stop thinking about it. I love Annie Proulx's writing although I had never read this story. It was a powerful and beautiful movie.

I was afraid of the violence based on other reviews but it wasn't a big part of the movie. I could anticipate it and close my eyes.

jessica said...

I hope he didn't mind you posting his entry.......because I'm going to snag it from you and post it too....absolutely wonderful writing and review. I honestly had no interest in seeing the movie at all before I read that, now I have already called a friend of mine and we are going to go see it tonight.

Bedazzzled1 said...

I am so glad I read your journal today. It was refreshing to read a review that didn't attach a label to a movie. (I dislike how people feel the need to label everything in some way.) I have heard much about this movie, none of it bad. I would gladly go see it, but I know there is sadness and pain in it. I tend to avoid deliberately subjecting myself to things that will make me cry and be sad for days. (Yeah, I am a wussy!) I know I am most likely missing out on a fantastic film, but maybe one day I will get up the guts to watch it.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing this obviously passionate review. Look at all the feelings and insights this movie brought up in a man who clearly has much to learn about himself. A fascinating look inside his soul. And a great, great testament to that incredible movie. Which I may just go and see again.

Love, Vicky

DEREK said...

i read it before I saw it, and read it again after I saw it. It was so powerful for me as well. I don't think my testament was quite as powerful as yours, but just reading your entry on it touched more heartstrings for me, thanks!