Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some Academshit about a decent movie, boy-oo

Brokeback Mountain, a film that touched on issues in the homophobic American Midwest, was a less than epic story about cowboys in lust. The characters in the movie, one Jack Twist and his beefy undercover lover Ennis, were both guilty of the one thing that could have raised the movie to a higher pinnacle than it did. They cowboys could have told the truth about their affections for each other.
The problem with the story is that it was a love story that took themes form the gay community instead of being a gay themed movie altogether. The characters both lived in a world of lies and secrets, which most gay men did in that place and that time. Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and the public was still scratching their heads about Cary Grant’s live in, close roommate friend, Randolph Scott. Overall, the movie was a love piece with a twist and that in it could have been the reason that it didn’t make the big time.
Straight people just don’t get being gay. Most straights can’t fathom hiding lovers and lying to friends about where they have been. Where the hickies on their necks came from. Women may not have had a problem with it, but men for ages have. Most straight men brag about what they have been doing and whom they have been doing it to. It’s a rite of passage that cannot be deigned during men’s youth. Bragging about what kill they just made or what color Mary Ann’s pubes were. Yes it’s all too familiar to a straight man. To be gay around all of this braggadocio would be a test. Why couldn’t you go on and on about Jimmy’s smooth chest or how rough Teddy was with you. It’s not fair to everyone.
Maybe this was one of the main reasons the film appeared so awkward. The characters didn’t seem to share any love for each other. Every scene that they shared, save the after sex shot of them in a hotel after not seeing each other for a few years, has a huge span between them. In the numerous camping scenes, Jack and Ennis sit a few feet apart, not even close enough to hold hands. They only embrace on screen and only kiss when it is relevant to unmask their infidelity to Ennis’s wife, excellently played by Michelle Williams. Ennis is more affectionate with his wife and subsequent lover. Jack moves on Anne Hathaway’s rodeo queen character faster than he moved on Ennis. That strangeness comes from the fact that the two gay cowboys don’t appear to be very gay. They seem to have a strong will to fornicate with each other and that is about it. They almost want the relationship to implode, which it does eventually.
The only gay character in the movie was the hustler that Jack visits in Mexico. Adhering to a stereotype, the young man leads Jack into the shadows for a clandestine tryst. In the film, this is the only display for brazen gay activity. The first time that Jack and Ennis are together on the mountain, they don’t even kiss. You don’t see them kiss until later in the film. They are obviously tied together by a force different that loves.
Maybe they are fraternal brothers in the Greek sense on the word. They only go on fishing trips together. The moments they share were very “man” oriented. The director left out all of the dialogue that may have cleared up the ambiguity between the cowboys. They are gay indeed, they have sex with each other, but they don’t seem to love each other like most people do.
Perhaps the greatest example of the confusion that this movie rises in the fact that you can replace either cowboy with a woman and it wouldn’t have changed the thread of the story. The movie was more about fated lovers than two gay men hiding something that they felt would have hurt them. Mysteriously, the men continued to live normally and didn’t really have a problem hiding their dirty secret for twenty years. They were only gay when they were fishing, and maybe not even then.
More confusing is the scene at the end of the movie when Ennis finds his shirt inside of Jack’s bloody, blue shirt. He seems to finally be gay, but you have to question if he is more upset about the death of his fishing buddy, not his partner.
Don’t see Brokeback Mountain for the action. Don’t see it for the barriers it is going to break down in Hollywood. The movie is just not going to give gay people anything. See the movie because you want to see Health Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal snog and roll around on the floor like fated lovers enjoying secrecy.


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