Rating: R for adult themes and sexuality
Run Time: 2 hours, 14 minutes
Ang Lee caps an impressive collection of eclectic work (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, “Sense and Sensibility”) with a lyrical tone poem of a movie that’s a haunting tribute to the great frontiers of love.
surrounds this emotional drama set against the sweeping majesty of
(Jake Gyllenhaal) and
It’s a simple existence; manual labor in the face of an inevitable future of marriage, jobs, and raising families. The ranch-hand and rodeo cowboy go about their work with a singular dedication that grows into an easy camaraderie. That friendship ultimately turns to a provocative intimacy that taps deep into both men’s psyches.
As summer draws to a close Jack and Ennis part ways and get swallowed up by life. Four years later Texas-based Jack finds himself en route to Wyoming and the pair arranges to meet, discovering that time has intensified their eloquent bond.
Lee works wonders with Annie Proulx’s evocative short story of the same name, squeezing every ounce of urgency, shame and passion out with craftily paced flow. The narrative traverses years of dissolved marriages, strained relationships and a burning desire tinged with a delicate dignity bordering on collapse.
Admittedly the film takes its sweet time to click; it’s subtly slack and slow to engage. Twangy guitar riffs occasionally rankle but I can’t shake the anguish of this brave and fractured love.
plumbs incredible depths of feeling to bring
The incessant tag of “the gay Western” offends; ground-breaking is more like it. Nuanced sentiment and genuine affection brand this as one of the most memorable films of the year.