In the mind-numbing waves of disposable love stories where the presence of characters, backdrops, and more importantly, plots seem to be interchangeable to one another, Brokeback Mountain stands tall thanks to the film’s firm stand to recreate a genre on its own.
Having successfully conquered vast genres ranging from domestic themes of East (Eat Drink Man Woman) and West (The Ice Storm), or a mix of both of them (The Wedding Banquet), to literary adaptation (Sense and Sensibility), to wuxia (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) to faithful comic adaptation (Hulk),Ang Lee marvels in his attempt to redefine a genre notoriously hard and preserved to an elite class of a very few directors ever existed in the course of cinema history. The genre as associated with cowboys is called Western.
And as much as Western often goes with subtle, or rather, repressed, homoerotic subtleties, the film pushes the envelope by breaking the bound loose while surprisingly preserves the dignity of machoism in even subtler way than what we have become familiar with in any sling-and-shot cowboys flicks.
For sure we get to see Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal do what arguably the most tender making out scene in any films, but how the scenes manage to pull through without shrieking response from audience (not the least that I know), is something Lee excels in treating the subject of all his films tenderly, seriously, and carefully nuanced to be contented. As enhanced by gorgeously photographed landscape by Rodrigo Prieto imbued with melancholic score by Gustavo Santaoala, the mountain has become a landmark of testament that love and machoism work well with one another to a mind-fulfilling result.
Alas, the words of praises offer nothing new to the film that I begin to think this will be drowning to any stronger, more stellar reviews that have arisen. Yet, to be in awe by the majestic presence of a mountain and its keepers is an unforgettably heartfelt experience a filmgoer should always yearn to have.