Brokeback Mountain, Directed by Ang Lee
Focus Features, December 16, 2005 (US)
Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, based on the short story by Annie Proulx
Starring: Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams
Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal): There ain’t never enough time, never enough. . . .
Thoughts of Brokeback Mountain were a trail mix left for another day. I meant to transcribe my mental notes at some point, but the day to day took over once again. Foolishly buying into the concept of time, we see no reason not to procrastinate. We have a surplus of tomorrows at our disposal. We mortgage opportunity in favor of fantasy. But just like that, a eulogy as unexpected as any shatters the complacency. It’s crazy to think back to when we huddled around a computer screen to catch that first glimpse of The Dark Knight trailer. The Joker looked spot-on, updated certainly, but pulled right from the nightmares of our Cesar Romero youths. The trailer was compelling in its short, shocking tease.
A short shocking tease; such is the blink-and-it’s gone trajectory of shooting stars. Like those that fall from impossibly low vast blue Wyoming skies before landing somewhere beyond the green rolling hills. Brilliance surrounds us as we sit side by side next to the flow of a crystal stream. We look up just in time to catch the tail end of the magnificent glow as it disappears in a reckless instant.
When I was a boy, The Joker would appear ever so suddenly out of nowhere from beside a tree or a bush and then he would let go of that crazed lunatic laugh that shattered my fragile psyche with such ridiculous ease. Those nightmares shook me to my core as I pulled the covers up over me alone in a twin bed in my tiny corner of the world.
And then, somewhere along the way, life itself began to reveal its own trail of torment, and a newfound house of horrors. Like the concept of dying without living. What could be more terrible than this? But it isn’t easy to escape the muddy institutions and slippery slopes of morality that surround us.
Annie Proulx knew exactly what she was doing in setting this story of forbidden love amidst the embrace of nature, far away from the ever-present, ever-watchful eyes. Here, in a place not yet stained by the commotion and smog of city streets or the regurgitation of consumption, right and wrong have a way of defining themselves. Everything is truth. Truth is the sun and stars and the uninterrupted miles of green. Truth is in the thump of a lonely heart.
Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger): You ever get the feelin’ … I don’t know, er …
when you’re in town and someone looks at you all suspicious, like he knows? And then you go out on the pavement and everyone looks like they know too?
Here, in the isolation of the wilderness—the land of absolute—armor is obliterated and true identity is gloriously revealed.
Jack: Brokeback got us good, don’t it?
There are brief moments of complete and absolute serenity, total peace. But then, a realization returns to remind that such tranquility was only a hiccup. Sundown is back upon us.
Ennis: Texas? Sure, maybe you can convince Alma to let you and Lureen to adopt the girls. And we can just live together herding sheep. And it’ll rain money from LD Newsome and whiskey’ll flow in the streams - Jack, that’s real smart.
With each and every contorted, mumbled utterance from Ennis Del Mar that leak like tiny droplets of blood from bitten lips, we are forced to die a thousand deaths right along with him.
Ennis: If you can’t fix it, Jack, you gotta stand it.
To live with the knowledge that life is precious and short is a tricky enough proposal but to then be reduced to just trying to endure it, to just stand it? It isn't living at all. It is a sentence of life without parole where embers of regret burn on without end to keep the prisoner's soul blanketed forever in the ashes of sadness and grief, sadness and grief.