Brokeback Mountain

Coming to such a notorious movie this late in the game, the risk is that those components that brought it notoriety in the first place may somehow be diminished, if not lost altogether: the genre-breaking gay cowboy theme, the doomed love, the gorgeous Wyoming vistas. Unless s/he leads some sort of electronically monastic existence that is devoid of TV, radio, and the Internet, the moviegoer enters the theater saddled with, if not preconceived notions, then at least expectations. It’s a testament to Ang Lee’s direction, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana’s adaptation of Annie Proulx’s New Yorker short story, and the fine acting throughout that the film rises above such expectations. And while Anne Hathaway’s turn as Jack Twist’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) no-nonsense wife was unconvincing (she didn’t age; her hair did), Linda Cardellini as Cassie, in very little screentime at all, heartbreakingly serves to remind Heath Ledger’s Ennis Del Mar just how tragic his life has become — and that the tragedy is not all his own. 

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