Sunday, March 05, 2006

Brokeback Mountain

Postscript: I'm putting the postscript up here instead of down there because I'm pissed. I tried to add in my comments for IMDb, but they seem to not want my comments. They keep having errors that either my comments are too long or my summary is too long. Sucks... Yea... To sooth my anger, please vote for me here hor, by the way... Maybe I'll try IMDb again later.

Brokeback Mountain

I brought two underaged girls to watch this film. But I think it was only because of me, I think I look older than my age, thus making them look older too.

I think it was the Golden Globes that made me interested in watching this film. On the day of the Golden Globes, everyone was stunned that this Brokeback Mountain film won so many awards. Also it being billed as a love story between two cowboys, I decided that I must watch this film. But I was losing steam regarding this film simply because everyone is talking about it. I finally was pulled to watch it by the two girls who wanted to watch but were afraid of getting their ID checked.

Before I watched the film, all I knew about the plot was that two cowboys met atop Brokeback Mountain and developed a relationship, but after the summer, they both went back to their respective mundane lives while harbouring each other deep in their hearts. I expected the bulk of the film to be about their relationship in Brokeback Mountain, but as all good movies goes, it's not supposed to go as what you think.

*Spoilers ahead*

The main plot of the story goes as with what the above said, only that the bulk of the film was after they left Brokeback Mountain. Ennis married his fiance, had two daughters. Jack met a cowgirl in Texas, got married, had a son. But after four years of separation and missing each other at deep in their hearts, they got back together, and occasionally meet up with each other. They carried on such a relationship under the guise of fishing buddies for about another decade plus before having another argument and separation, only this time, everything ends like how the only way love could die, it's when your heart stops beating.

*Spoilers end here*

The beauty of Brokeback Mountain is not about the plot, but about how the characters are presented to us by the actors. Both leads were fantastic, the supporting cast was fabulous, you can just feel that they were the characters. It's also great that the characters did not act like stereotypical gays, and this made me feel the pain of them. I watch lots of manga and anime and a fair share of shounen-ai, so I actually can see and feel the beauty of such illicit relationships.

*May contain spoilers ahead*

But there a bit of disappointments too. Ennis and Jack's relationship was not fully developed when they were first at Brokeback Mountain. Yes, we see them bonding and getting to know and appreciate each other, but how did they fall in love? I don't think anyone can fall in love with anybody just by hearing that few things about his life story. An excuse could be that both are lonely, but similiarly, the loneliness they might have felt was not fully presented. Perhaps the director was afraid that the film would become long and draggy, but it does seem a bit awkward under my eye.

Their first sexual encounter, to me, was pretty surprising. I wasn't prepared for it, and that made me feel that the characters weren't really in love then. Maybe they first had that sexual relationship which gradually became into a more emotional interdependance, then love, or maybe not love, maybe an addiction they had for each other.

Another thing I was disappointed was the lengthy desciption of their mundane lives. The film goes on and describes about 20 years of their lives after the Brokeback encounter. 20 years in an hour half is not a very easy thing to compact. At times I felt a bit fustrated that nothing interesting happened, was bored, other times I felt that the relationships and the character development was poorly developed. There can be so much more about Lureen to develop, but she turned out to be pretty flat, other than her last scene.

But the development of the characters of Ennis and Jack was well done. They really grew up over the years, matured, and saw things in a different light, but also the development of their expectations of each other and through their actions and their treatment to each other, we can see the change.

One particular I really enjoyed watching was Alma, Ennis' fiance turned wife turned divorcee. Her character development was impressive. From the first day we saw her in the church getting married, to her bringing up the kids, then to see her finding out the relationship her husband had with another guy, and how it just grew over the years, and till the divorce and their last meeting she had with him with her new husband. My favourite scene of her, is a tie between her finding out of her husband's secret relationship and the last sex scene they had.

Alma Beers Del Mar: As far gone as we are on the bills, it makes me nervous not to use any sort of protection.
Ennis Del Mar: If you don't want no more Del Mars, I'll be happy to just leave you alone.
Alma Beers Del Mar: I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em.

They didn't have sex after that conversation. To Alma, it was a sign that he didn't love her, he didn't want to have sex with her, he was just happy to go without sex or anything. That crushed Alma. Perhaps, if they still did had sex, Alma might not have divorced him, I think.

*Spoilers end here*

Just wondering, what would you do if went home one day and find yourself in the position of Alma? I've a soft spot for homosexual (albeit only male-male) relationships, I think this is because I've read too much of such love relationship between beautiful men in mangas and anime. I think I'll set them free. I won't have that much tolerance if the other person was a female though. hahaha~

Regarding the relationship between Jack and Ennis, well, maybe in today, a modern world, a homosexual relationship is nothing much, so I was not able to feel that much of a pain from watching it. It seemed to be just about another love story between two people who aren't supposed to fall in love with each other.

I had the same sort of feeling when watching this film as I had with Japanese Story.
Opposed to what you may think derived from it's title, it's not a Japanese Story, more like an Australian Story. It's also about two people together, cut off from the rest of the world, seeking love and solace in each other, but not being able to be together. And also the twist, *spoilers ahead* both leads had to cope with their partner dying. *spoilers end here* Only Japanese Story did not span 20 years.

Another feeling was a similiarity with Lost in Translation.
Only without the sex and change the leads into a pair of homosexuals. Okay, maybe if the focus of Brokeback was more on their earlier encounter in Brokeback. But it uses the same sort of lonely, needing, solace finding relationships. Away from the other people, somewhere in a world of their own. I can almost imagine, on Bob's return to America, he might continue with his wife while occasionally remembered of Charlotte, and one day Charlotte might give him a ring and they can continue their relationship back in America, just like the following 20 years of Ennis and Jack.

My predictions for the Oscars,

Best Motion Picture of the Year: Munich, rather than Brokeback.
Just as Lost in Translation didn't manage to beat the blockbuster Lord of the Rings, Brokeback is a minnow compared to Munich. I'm guessing that judges might prefer something more entralling and politicised rather than something merely about relationships.

Best Actor: Heath Ledger
Yea... He did well enough to win that statue home.

Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal
In fact, I think he might be more suited for a best actor nod. hehehe...

Best Director: Steven Spielberg, not Lee Ang
I don't think Lee Ang can beat Spielberg in the powerhouse, just like his Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. On second thoughts, then again, maybe it's time for Lee Ang to get that nod. hmm...

Best Adapted Screenplay: Munich
I still think Munich is more of the Oscar material kind of stuff than a lightweight romance film.

Best Cinematography: Brokeback Mountain
Because of the disappointment in the other categories to Munich, I think this would be a token of appreciation to Brokeback Mountain.

Another thing I'd like to highlight is that I just realised that Brokeback Mountain is a film by Focus Features, the company which does art house films in US and also brings in good art house films into the US market. Think along of the lines of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, need I say anymore?

Brokeback Mountain is based on a short story. Does that sort of ring a bell? Memento was such too. Well, I was thinking, if one day I can bring my short stories to screen, wouldn't that be perfect? In terms of plot wise, my stories do have the calibre to match up against Brokeback Mountain, maybe not Memento. Then again, thinking, Brokeback Mountain is a simple story, Memento is too, I can match up Memento as the only thing that makes Memento interesting was it's cinematography, not the story. Hollywood, here I come~

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