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Brokeback Mountain (R)

Release Date: December 9th, 2005 (NYC)
December 16th, 2005 (Wider) by Focus Features.
The Cast: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Anna Faris, Randy Quaid.
Directed by Ang Lee.

BASIC PREMISE: Ennis (Ledger) and Jack (Gyllenhaal), who met and fell in love while sheepherding together at Brokeback Mountain, rekindle their love four years later while they’re both married. Based on a short story.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Despite a thin plot with very little suspense,Brokeback Mountain still manages to hook you into every one of its frames. The lush cinematography and picturesque scenery provide for plenty of eye candy. In the first act, Enis and Jack meet on the mountain, fall in love, and then separate. Yes, in case you’re wondering, there’s a steamy sex scene between the two, but it doesn’t last too long. During the next four years, Enis marries Alma (Williams) and Jack marries Lureen (Hathaway). Everything changes once Jack sends Enis a letter reminding him of their passionate time on Brokeback Mountain. Predictably, they run off on “fishing trips” while they leave their wives wondering what’s taking them so long to come back. The third act does have a few surprises, though, but what really holds this plot together is the solid chemistry between the two. Among all the drama, there’s one shocking scene that actually leads to laughter when Alma all-of-a-sudden catches her husband make out with Jack. Also, Anaa Faris has a hilarious cameo. Brokeback Mountain would have seemed like a Lifetime movie-of-the-week if it wasn’t for Heath Ledger’s surprisingly powerful performance. He should definitely be at least nominated for an Academy Award. If you’re familiar with Ang Lee’s previous work (excluding The Hulk ), you might appreciate his attention to detail and often soothing, relaxing atmosphere he creates with slow pacing.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The third act is the most moving and heartbreaking as Enis and Jack sacrifice their normal family life to spend time together. On the one hand, you want both to end up living with one another. On the other hand, every action has consequences. In this case, unfortunately, the consequences include ruining their reputations and destroying their family life. Love isn’t always easy.



THE BOTTOM LINE: A beautiful, well-crafted masterpiece! Heath Ledger gives the best performance of his career!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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