*** Official BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Ringwald, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Saw it tonight. It was a very amazing film with some absolutely amazing performances.

    Heath Ledger in particular was pitch perfect in his role, and Michelle Williams was good in her role as well. Jake Gyllenhaal was good, but the movie belongs to Heath. His ability to say so much without words and just the way he plays the character were brilliant.

    Will mainstream audiences eat it up? Depends on the oscar talk. It wasn't really "gay" themed IMHO. I felt like it was more a film about two people who form an emotional bond that was for the most part unexpected to them.

    There was a lot of laughter in certain scenes, but I think this was because of the tense audience unsure of what to expect. We'll see what happens when it expands past 5 theatres. People clapped at the end, and the whole row I was in was in tears at the end. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I personally didn't have a problem with the fact that they didn't refer themselves as "gay" in the movie. This is honestly more understandable when you see the film and you understand the characters. I think the uproar with that is a lot of people really upset with the inability to label everything.

    Definitely worth seeing. Great film.

    There also wasn't nearly as much graphic stuff as I expected, and it didn't feel like it was necessary. I think there was more nudity from the female leads than the men.
     
  2. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Some strong performances, I'll give it that. Particularly Williams and Ledger.

    But, I just don't think much of this film. It's an overly long forbidden love story. Corny melodrama at worst, and thin drama at best.

    I've seen it a million times, but tighter and better (though, with lesser performances). I'm left wondering why all the hype? I know why, of course...the film is a zeitgeist capturing 'film of the moment'.
     
  3. Cory S.

    Cory S. Supporting Actor

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    A very strong film, directed brilliantly by Ang Lee. Strong performances all throughout, especially from Heath Ledger. It will win the cinematography Academy Award this year.

    But...the film didn't connect with me emotionally. I thought the film was sad but it didn't punch me in the gut. I felt the film was very good. I know the film is very good. But, I have a disconnect with this film that I can't fully explain.

    It's gonna take a second viewing for me to get a handle on the film I think.
     
  4. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    Loved the film.Very diliberate pace, wonderul performances and some great scenery. These men were trying to fit into a society that wouldnt let them be who they really were and their lives were ruined because of it.

    I find it interesting that people will say that it will get Award nominations just because it is the film of the moment and just because they are not compfortable with the subject matter.
    Don't disount the film unless you have seen it. then you can rant all you like.


    I agree. It was a film about a bond. A love that was foreign to them. There's a whole story that unfords about their lives. It's not what most nay sayers would expect. It's not just two guys humping in a tent for 2 hours.
    The pace and tone reminded me a lot of Ang Lee's other movie, Ice Storm and it was just as tragic. Other movies that came to mind were A River Run's Through it and a bit of Urban Cowboy.
     
  5. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I saw Brokeback Mountain last night.

    I liked it very much, and it is a solid Oscar contender, though I guess I admit, it isn't the greatest movie I ever saw. It is very dignified, and the story itself is certainly unusual. The actors are all fine (including David Harbour in a small role, and Roberta Maxwell as Jack/Jake's mother).

    The best thing about it is that I didn't feel embarrassed for myself or the actors having to do sex scenes with each other.

    One of the reasons Heath is so good, is that he credibly plays his character over 20 years. Heath himself is only 26, and this is very difficult to do; for instance, playing a father of adult children who are actors about the same age as he is.

    I was disappointed by the end, but it's the same as the original story.
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    This film is currently playing only in one theater in Atlanta (on 3-4 screens, though), but I drove into town and was pleasantly surprised by the high number of people in line for the 11 a.m. showing (thankfully there was also an 11:30 a.m. showing that I was able to attend since the line was so long, and the theater only had one ticket window open that I didn't get my ticket until after the 11 a.m. showing commenced). Suffice it to say, the Friday showings were totally sold out, and the 3 showings I peeked in on were all sold out today.

    Now with a film that received so much critical praise early in the "best of 2005" season, is it possible to keep an open mind about its touted "greatness"? I tried, limiting myself to the trailer of the film, and eschewing most of the other details about the film.

    My initial thoughts on the aspect ratio was one of "why is this 1.85? It just screams 2.35 to me, but I will have to entertain the notion that director Ang Lee wanted to paint a more intimate portrait of the yearning and love between the principal characters, Jack and Ennis, and from that standpoint, 1.85 is a more proper aspect ratio. But the gorgeous scenery from Brokeback mountain would have benefited from a 2.35 aspect ratio.

    Surprisingly, for a film with a running time around 135 minutes, the scenes blend in and move without a lot of inconsequential material, the film just quietly pushes through the passage of time at a pace that almost feels natural because as you get older, time does whisk by, with only highpoints from the years to mark its passage.

    Set in 1963, buoyed by a summer of shepherding sheep, Jack and Ennis develop a friendship that turns into something deeper for the two of them, but at the same time, it's something with dire consequences and outwardly forbidden. The film hits the right notes in depicting the shackles of societal convention that forbidden love engenders. The pain from living a less-than-truthful life can take its toll, and the quality of the storytelling is worthy of motivating viewers to re-examining their own lives should parallels exists.

    The performance of Heath Ledger (Ennis) is very good, just a smidge better than Jake Gyllenhall's (Jack), it was easy to buy the onscreen chemistry between them. Also, Michelle Williams does some good work as Ennis's wife. Ang Lee and the screenwriters do a wonderful job of never losing the viewer, and choose the right angles to present the scenes to sustain the storyline in a confident manner, with nary a mis-step.

    Is it worth its hype? All I can say is that it didn't disappoint.

    I give it 3.75 stars, or a grade of A-.
     
  7. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    Wonderful film, that last monologue Jack made at the river (ending with "I wish I could quit you") was just heart breaking.

    One oddity that detracted from the purity and strength of their relationship though, at least for me, which perhaps the filmmakers could have done without:

    When Ennis visits Jack's parents, Jack's father John Twist utters the words

    ---"Jack used a say, 'Ennis del Mar,' he used a say, 'I'm goin a bring him up here one a these days and we'll lick this damn ranch into shape.' He had some half-baked idea the two a you was goin a move up here, build a log cabin and help me run this ranch and bring it up. Then, this spring he's got another one's goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas. He's goin a split up with his wife and come back here. So he says. But like most a Jack's ideas it never come to pass."---

    This "another one" that he mentions, whether that's meant to be the newlywed husband we met ealier (Anna Faris played the talkative wife), or some other man Jack has had a relationship with, I don't have a problem with, since we know he had a tougher time suppressing his urges. That this line about the "another one" is included, however, shifted the mood, and cast the sanctity of their love in a negative light. That after two decades of attachment, two decades of unfaltering, strong-as-oak, wives-and-children-can't-break-us-apart attachment, Jack would even have "another one" in lieu of Ennis. It just felt odd, the final moments in the film, the discovery of the bloody shirts, during the culmination of Jack and Ennis' story. I really wish this line of dialogue, this unnecessary revelation, could have been excluded from the film adaptation.
     
  8. Chris Souders

    Chris Souders Stunt Coordinator

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    Saw the movie yesterday and enjoyed it....thought it was a tragic film and as a gay man, I felt the most sorrow for Ennis' wife. I think to those characters, in that time, being 'gay' was not a concept that was possible / understandable..at least in terms of having a serious relationship. Given a life with no good choice, they chose to marry which inflicted harm on the women and children in their life.

    I'm left with some questions/wonderings because a lot in this movie was left unsaid...

    1) Did jack's wife know he was gay? know how he died? She was rather cold about it during the phone call with Ennis...


    What do we spose Ennis meant when he said "I swear" at the end?

    As for the film's broad appeal.. I really can't see it appealing to most straight men, especially those who do not have any gay friends. Though there is more tit than dick in the show, the first (and only really) sex scene was somewhat shocking even to me... not that I didn't like it. I just can't see my dad stomaching this movie...

    Chris
     
  9. Kyle_D

    Kyle_D Second Unit

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    I just got back from this expecting not to like it all that much and came away thinking it was one of the year's best movies. Instead of labeling this "the gay cowboy movie", it should really be labeled "the 'Holy Shit, Heath Ledger can actually act!' movie". His performance was truly heartbreaking. Ang Lee finally knocked one out of the park for me.

    BTW, there's no way this would ever get a PG-13 rating and it's not at all because of the subject matter. There's nudity (female and male - look closely when Jack and Ennis jump off the cliff to go skinny dipping), fairly rough sex, more than 2 "fucks", and Jack's death
    is pretty graphic.
     
  10. Blake Siefken

    Blake Siefken Stunt Coordinator

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    Just saw it today, very good. The earliest showing at a 20 screen megaplex was a third of the way full, a lot more than King Kong was at the same time a week ago. Based on the money its already made, I think Brokeback is going to make a shit load of money. Its not a coincidence that the more controversial a movie is the more money it makes.

    I was surprised to see that it was mostly younger women in the audience, clearly they wanted to see hot men doing hot stuff. That's the reason I was there!
     
  11. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Heavy weekend...started with Munich and ended with Brokeback Mountain.

    I found it constantly beautiful and engaging. Ang Lee is extraordinarily skilled. This is very delicate material, and he gets excellent performances out of every single person in front of the camera. Special kudos to Ledger, of course, but each character had a moment (or more) to really control a scene.

    Regarding Lureen:
    I think she certainly knew he was gay. And I believe she is having trouble coping with his death. She looks hard and angry on the phone, but every few moments, her breath catches as she fights back real tears. It was a subtle sound cue, but I heard it a few times. Great performance by Anne in that scene.

    I think what is important about the movie is that it *isn't* important. It's not presented as them against the world, or making a stand. It's simply about the connection between them and the reality that such a connection carries significant baggage. As a straight male, I was never uncomfortable with scenes of physical love (or emotional vulnerability). I think the film is remarkably accessible for mainstream audiences.

    I agree with Cory that it will win Best Cinematography at the Oscars this year. Almost all of my favorite films this year are about loss and emotional connections. Weird.

    Ang Lee made a great film.
     
  12. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    I love this movie. It would cheapen it to use caps and exclamation points, because no matter how many I used it wouldn't be enough. I love this movie. I've seen it twice now and yearn to see it again. I love this movie.


    Nick wrote:

    When Ennis visits Jack's parents, Jack's father John Twist utters the words

    ---"Jack used a say, 'Ennis del Mar,' he used a say, 'I'm goin a bring him up here one a these days and we'll lick this damn ranch into shape.' He had some half-baked idea the two a you was goin a move up here, build a log cabin and help me run this ranch and bring it up. Then, this spring he's got another one's goin a come up here with him and build a place and help run the ranch, some ranch neighbor a his from down in Texas. He's goin a split up with his wife and come back here. So he says. But like most a Jack's ideas it never come to pass."---

    This "another one" that he mentions, whether that's meant to be the newlywed husband we met ealier (Anna Faris played the talkative wife), or some other man Jack has had a relationship with, I don't have a problem with, since we know he had a tougher time suppressing his urges. That this line about the "another one" is included, however, shifted the mood, and cast the sanctity of their love in a negative light. That after two decades of attachment, two decades of unfaltering, strong-as-oak, wives-and-children-can't-break-us-apart attachment, Jack would even have "another one" in lieu of Ennis. It just felt odd, the final moments in the film, the discovery of the bloody shirts, during the culmination of Jack and Ennis' story. I really wish this line of dialogue, this unnecessary revelation, could have been excluded from the film adaptation.


    Here's my take on it:

    First, I think the fact that Jack was thinking about setting up a ranch with someone else was a natural progression from his frustration at Ennis being unwilling to help JACK live out his dreams. If, in one of those fantasies where you think about the characters had this or that not happened, Jack had set up a ranch with someone else, the reality would have been just as heartbreaking. Not that they would have ended up like the couple Ennis told Jack about (though that's certainly possible) but rather because Jack wouldn't have loved that other man just like he didn't love his wife the way he loved Ennis. Just as I felt sorry for Ennis when he heard of Jack's plans, I instantly felt sorry for that other man, whoever he may have been (probably the talkative woman's husband). He wouldn't have been let into Jack's heart either. Jack would have been living his dream with a poor substitute, through no fault of the other man's.

    Second, I felt that Jack's father telling Ennis about Jack's plan was extremely cruel, and that he did it out of malice and hatred. Whether conscious or not, Jack's father wanted to hurt Ennis. I hated Jack's father with the same intensity as I loved Jack's poor mother. And I felt sorry for them both.

    Talk about conveying much with few words, wasn't the actress, who played Jack's mother, Roberta Maxwell, haunting and heartbreaking? It was obvious she saw Ennis as a kindred soul, simply as someone who had loved her son, but whose grief was so profound it couldn't be expressed.


    Maxwell has a long list of credits but I only recognized a few entries: she played Sean Penn's mother in Dead Man Walking, was in Philadelphia (which I haven't seen) and The Changeling (which I barely remember), and seems to have had a small role in Special Bulletin, which I remember vividly but don't remember her role. I haven't seen it since it originally aired.

    Edited to add some of my last bit to the spoiler section.
     
  13. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

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    Finally saw it today.

    Is it just me or is the film a bit overrated? I mean, even as far as same sex love stories go, I don't even think it was the best of the year (I liked MY SUMMER OF LOVE a lot more). And Heath Ledger has been praised by everyone, but am I alone in thinking it sounded like he was trying out for SLING BLADE 2? "Mmmmm mmmmmm, can you fry me up some french fried potaters? Mmmmmm mmmmmmm".

    Michelle Williams though I thought was excellent. If anything, she was a bit underrated.

    But as for the DVD release, I am sure it will look great. The cinematography and music was wonderful. But, for me at least, I can't see rewatching it all that often.

    So thumbs up, but not as much as most critics.
     
  14. Justin Hargis

    Justin Hargis Stunt Coordinator

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    My wife and I tried to see this on Saturday night, at 10:30pm, but it was sold out. We ended up seeing it Sunday at 4pm. The line for it was backed into the lobby, past the glass doors outside. I was expecting maybe 10 people in the theater on a Sunday at 4pm. Every seat was just about taken. Luckily we used movietickets.com.

    We got there 15 minutes early, but still had to sit in the lower-front seats. I haven't been to a film this packed since we saw Revenge of the Sith this past summer.

    I really enjoyed this movie. It's beautifully shot. The acting was perfect, with Heath Ledger having the best performace. Donnie Darko's performance was great as well.

    Overall, I give Brokeback Mountain an 89% B+.

    This movie's gonna win some Oscars in March. I hope Heath wins the Best Actor category. He deserves it.
     
  15. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I saw Brokeback Mountain yesterday and thought it was a very good film.

    I didn't quite love it as I thought I would, but it definitely is one of the years 10 best.

    Heath Ledger was phenomenal. His intense performance was one it seemed to me of inner torture of a man who cannot express himself or his love clearly.

    Equally as good was Jake Gyllenhall. Easily his best performance.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it incorrect to call these characters gay. They are obviously bi-sexual.
    I felt for them and there unrequited love. Gay or straight, it was heartbreaking.

    Definitely a deliberately paced, slow, intense film. Not graphic at all and actually quite tender. I was definitely choked up at the end.

    See it.[​IMG]
     
  16. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    I finally saw Brokeback Mountain yesterday and I do agree that in many ways, it is a SUPERB film. [​IMG]

    Heath Ledger is definitely going to win an acting Oscar--he's that good. And the cinematography is just flat-out awesome, too. [​IMG]

    I can see this movie winning at least four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (if Ledger is nominated in the Lead category), Best Director for Ang Lee and Best Cinematography.

    You definitely feel for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Jack and Ennis characters.
     
  17. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    Interesting discussion so far on this movie.

    5 words I never thought I would say: Best Actor nominee Heath Ledger. [​IMG] Might have to replace one word in that sentence with another in about 6 weeks or so.

    One of the first words that came to mind after this was done was heartbreaking. It was a pure shame that these two characters couldn't get together and enjoy a life together simply because of the time and place that they were in.

    As great as the first 2 hours are, it's the last 20 minutes that push this movie from great to masterpiece. When Lureen is describing what happened to Jack over the phone to Ennis, it was saddening. Also the scene with Jack's parents. Roberta Maxwell did such a great job that I knew that she knew what kind of a relationship Ennis had with Jack the minute they met. Jack's father infuriated me, but I chalk it up to either ignorance and/or self-loathing

    While I think the fact that the movie is about a relationship between two men is what's giving the film it's hype and publicity, that it is a universal love story and done so damn well is why it's getting critical and audience acclaim.

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Roberta Maxwell, Linda Cardinelli, and yes, Randy Quaid are all superb. However, it's Heath Ledger's show. With a tour-de-force performance that none of his previous rolls gave a clue that he had it in him, he easily delivers a career best showing.

    While Munich is still the best film of 2005 for me, I can understand if Brokeback Mountain wins a boatload of Academy Awards. It's an emotional knockout.

    Last, but not least and definitely a shallow thought: Thanks to Anne and Michelle for those topless scenes. It was nice. [​IMG]
     
  18. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Brokeback Mountain". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.



    Crawdaddy
     
  19. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain tackles a subject matter about a forbidden relationship between two men that many will have difficulty accepting, let alone understand. It is very honest in its portrayal of broken lives and heartbreak. Lee’s approach is audacious yet nuanced in many ways.

    Its strength comes mostly from the performances of Heath Ledger and Jack Gyllenhaal (to a lesser extent), while its quiet moments, which has been the hallmark of many of Ang Lee’s films along with his craftsmanship allows for those subtle and ingenious observations setting this film apart from any other motion picture in 2005.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] (out of four)

    ~Edwin
     
  20. Henry Colonna

    Henry Colonna Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't believe I just got around to seeing this. I bought the DVD a long time ago from Amazon and it's been sitting in the "TO WATCH" pile. A few days ago my Tivo Series 3 pulled down Crash so I was reminded that Crash beat this film, so I watched it last night.

    I'm glad I watched it alone as I was turned into a puddle of blood, flesh, bones, and water at the end and my contacts fell out. I would've been embarrassed in front of most other people I know. I think I cried four times, and each time was worse than the time before.

    And I am not a crier - it's been YEARS since I cried at a movie.

    I have a theory on Jack's wife myself that's different than anyone else, but I need to visit a FAQ to find out how to use the cool little spoiler button.
     

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