Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

A Western.

I absolutely can't accept that Brokeback Mountain will be promoted and written about as though it were a "chick flick" or "woman's film". There is nothing wrong with either of those genres, but Brokeback fits into neither of them. It is a western, pure and simple. And in its own way it is as brilliant as Ford's The Searchers and Eastwood's Unforgiven. This is a revisionist western that looks again at the genre's classic themes of loneliness, family and loss.

Lee's film shows a great deal of respect for the western, including several visual homages to John Ford. And the screenplay, cowritten by great western writer Larry McMurtry, knows the story it is telling. This is a masculine tale that examines the nature of masculinity. These two men give up none of their manliness by being gay, and demonstrate this with dignity under the overwhelming pressures of society. Ennis and Jack, brilliantly played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, go through their lives with the quiet longing that any John Wayne character might have displayed. It is a touching, moving portrait of a societal wrong. This is the type of liberal filmmaking that changes minds, it is not mere proselytizing. As someone in a committed heterosexual relationship, I couldn't imagine the pain of having to hide my true feelings behind that stoic mask. This puts such a forceful drama behind the simple argument for love that its power is manifold.

The Searchers reexamined race in the western, Unforgiven looked at violence, and now Brokeback Mountain looks again at masculinity and loneliness. It is a moving, powerful film.

Current 2005 Top 10:
1. A History of Violence
2. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
3. Brokeback Mountain
4. Broken Flowers
Grizzly Man
6. King Kong
7. Last Days
8. The Constant Gardener
9. Hustle & Flow
10. Kung Fu Hustle

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