For the past two years Hollywood has decided that the Western is a cinema winner. People relate to the cowboy. So it is no surprise that the latest award winning film, Brokeback Mountain by Ang Lee, has so many people talking. The film stars Hollywood sweetheart Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist and up-and-coming teenage sex idol Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar. What Ang Lee wants is for us to partake in a real rural western love story. But this is no normal cowboy flick. These lovers are gay.
Ennis, raised by siblings, has lost both his parents and Jack, taught that showing feelings is not manly, was brought up by a domineering father and a mousy mother. These boys eat baked beans, stare at the stars, beat each other up and discover man to man sex. There is something original here but the story somehow never really rings true; it just drags on and on. Both guys go on to marry and form their own families but keep meeting up a few times a year to go back to Brokeback Mountain on their "fishing trips".
It leaves one to think that, after all, this is the end of the Sixties so why don’t they just leave their boring lives and take off for San Francisco where they can live together happily ever after among other gay cowboys? This is a long film and never really goes anywhere. Sorry! Brokeback Mountain will most likely win a number of prizes at the Academy Awards tomorrow night, because of it's timeliness, but other films about homosexuality such as Stephan Frear's My Beautiful Laundrette or Cheun Gwong's Happy Together have been made before with themes much deeper and love stories much stronger.