Brokeback Mountain Ang Lee

Almost one month to the day of its surprise loss to the unforgivably manipulative Crash at this year’s Academy Awards, Brokeback Mountain rides onto DVD and (hopefully) into the collections of film lovers everywhere. Though the reason for its loss is undetermined (and widely discussed), one thing hopefully remains clear: Ang Lee’s ode to gay love amongst the Wyoming landscape is a mesmerising and powerful cinematic achievement that pushes boundaries and challenges audiences. For those who don't know, Brokeback Mountain finds Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) meeting in 1963 when they are forced to spend an entire summer ranching sheep. After a night of heavy drinking, this bond takes a carnal turn and Ennis and Jack begin to blindly fall in love. Once the summer ends, the two are forced to forget and move on with their lives. But neither can escape the memory of that summer and Ennis and Jack begin making yearly "fishing trips” to Brokeback Mountain. Their love becomes the core of the film, as the decades that follow their initial meeting constantly challenge their unconditional emotion. Lee does not hold back, even in terms of the rather graphic (certainly by Hollywood standards) love scenes. The lead actors play along — Ledger seeps with raw emotion and Gyllenhaal's subtler performance complements Ledger’s wonderfully. The belief in their characters’ connection is necessary for the rest of the film to work, and both actors go to great lengths to make that happen. It’s unfortunate neither took home a golden boy for themselves. The DVD begs for a future "special edition.” Though there are three "featurettes” ("Directing From The Heart”; "From Script To Screen”; and "The Making of Brokeback Mountain”), none are particularly enchanting or do justice to the film. More importantly, there is no commentary by Lee or anyone else, which is surprising for a film of such magnitude. Perhaps the rushed release date of the DVD explains the extras shortage, and while a future edition making up for it would be nice, the film speaks for itself. Academy Awards or not, Brokeback Mountain was and still is 2005’s best. (Alliance Atlantis)