- Brokeback Mountain
Considering the hype and award nominations attached to this film, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed.
The performances by the four lead characters are very good, but they're performing their lines whilst running on a very slow treadmill. The plot almost tries not to conform to the Hollywood stereotype, and while this is normally a good thing, Brokeback Mountain struggles because of it.
A critical flaw in the film is that Jack and Ennis' sexual desire is explained clearly on camera, but their obvious love is never explained in the same way. This leaves a cavernous hole in the emotional intensity of the film, as the emotions played out on screen are based on love, not on the sex that Ang Lee prefers to allude to through various (often sheep-related) imagery.
The ending for me was a big disappointment, although I was slightly relieved that it was the end, because the film had gone on too long. Personally I think by ending primarily on Ennis' daughter's journey, the significance of Ennis and Jack's relationship was downplayed. Yes, having your daughter get married is an important moment in your life, but given the relative lack of importance attached to Ennis' children throughout the film, it felt a strange note to end on.
The film is worth seeing, and 3 out of 5 stars is probably being slightly unfair. The first half of the film is beautifully-shot and acted. But the second half of the film doesn't deliver the emotions that you expect it to.
And considering past winners of the Best Picture award at the Oscars, I can't help feeling Brokeback Mountain's inevitable win is unjust.