Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Just wanted to start this post by saying: my rating style has undergone some revision and is now very different to how it was before. Each film will be judged on four factors that are differently weighted (and will be given as score to the nearest point five,) to give an overall score that will still be out of ten. It goes as follows:

Did I enjoy the film?- /1

Were the character arcs interesting and developed?- /2

Was I directly emotional engaged?- (Did I believe in the characters’ plights?)- /3

Did it have a good story?- /4

That is the general structure and from now on I will be basing my criticism around these factors to give you my review and an eventual score. Anyway, back to the review…

I got this film for my birthday, way back in January, and have since been waiting for the perfect time to watch it (as I wanted to watch it by myself.) Finally, I got the chance and I leapt to it; ecstatic to see why there had been such an outcry when it didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar. But, do I think it deserved the honour that many say it does?

What is it about?

Two cowboys: Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal;) are hired for sheep herding work on Brokeback Mountain in 1963, where they find themselves becoming friends over the course of the Summer and then much more. When the summer finally comes to an end; they part ways going back to their normal lives, but they never truly learn to move on. Four years later, they meet under the façade of a fishing trip and the series of trips that follow just accentuate their need for each other, but how can they be together in a world where their love is forbidden.

Did I enjoy the film?- 1/1

Simply put; yes, I loved this film. It was fabulous. I came away from it thinking about everything that had gone on and just couldn’t get it out of my head. Any film that stays with me in such a glorious light, is clearly doing something right. If you haven’t seen this film, then you must because it’s simply fantastic.

Were the character arcs interesting and developed?- 1.5/2

Completely and utterly. There are very few films I have seen, that have established characters with such a sense of: mesmeric and tragic development. A lot of this will be down to the writing, but Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are incredible as our lead protagonists and the juxtaposition of sadness and sheer joy that they exude when together is quite startling. Michelle Williams, as Alma and Ledger’s wife, is equally fantastic. The torment she presents really drives the film in major way that defies the fact that for large portions she is in the peripheral.

Was I directly emotional engaged?- (Did I believe in the characters’ plights?)- 3/3

100% Yes. This film had me from the start and everything that the characters did I believed in. What struck me with this film and has really allowed it to stick with me is the grittiness of it; most explicitly conveyed with the raw emotion constantly on display. With every twist and turn, I could empathise with their situations and I was constantly dreading what would be waiting around the corner. The ultimate test for a film like this is- did I cry? The answer to that too is yes. It really gripped me and shook me to my core and although I didn’t completely break down to the point of crying way after the film had finished, like in ‘Call Me by Your Name’, I was still incredibly moved.

Did it have a good story?- 3.5/4

The way the story progresses and moves forward with such confident broad leaps it’s excellent. I think that the general storyline, with each of the defining moments, is one of the best I have ever seen. The way it handles the subject matter and taps in to such broad themes and explores them with such precise focus is really commendable. However, despite the excellence I had one problem: the erratic movement between place and time. Generally, this worked perfectly; however, on a few occasions I found myself confused by where we were and how many years we had moved on since the subsequent scene. It didn’t take long to get back on track, but at points I was just slightly disillusioned.

Wow. This film was exceptional and really did take me by surprise. Of course I had high expectations because I had heard such great things about it but I never could have expected this film. It was emotional and interesting and subversive and sensual and will continue to age impressively. It shocks me that this film was released in 2005 and the fact it is so poignant even now only bodes well for the future. This film completely deserved the Best Picture Oscar and the fact it didn’t is an absolute travesty.

My Rating- 9/10

My Top 3 of the Year:

  1. Call Me by Your Name
  2. Brokeback Mountain
  3. Short Term 12

If you liked this film review please do like and follow if you haven’t already. Moreover, I would appreciate you showing support over on my instagram @judesfilmreviews. Jude 🙂

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