Friday, March 31, 2006

An Analysis of Brokeback Mountain

The movie review I submitted to Prof. Flores:

Asian director Ang Lee presents a movie based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx’s short story. Brokeback Mountain, which had its limited release last December 9, 2006 and its worldwide release on January 13, 2006, won three awards in the recently concluded Oscars for Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Musical Scoring (Gustavo Santaolalla) and Best Screenplay (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), aside from having been nominated for five other categories by the same award-winning body. It is also acclaimed by the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Awards.
This film set in Wyoming tells the tale of two young cowboys, Ennis del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) who meet in 1963 while signing up as sheepherders under Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid), a local rancher. In Brokeback Mountain where Joe sends them for work, their relationship levels from camaraderie to a deeper intimacy. One fateful night, the bitter coldness of the wind causes them to huddle together in a tent. They fall in love amidst each of their vocal pronunciations that they are not gay. At the summer’s end, they have to go down Brokeback Mountain, and must separate ways. Jack, moving to Texas, courts and weds rodeo queen Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway), while Ennis, still in Wyoming, marries Alma (Michelle Williams). Jack and Lureen have a son, as Ennis and Alma have two daughters. After four years when the two cowboys meet again, their feelings for one another have not changed. Ennis and Jack try to keep their secret intimate relationship, although later on, Alma discovers this bond. Ennis's marriage devolves, and Alma divorces him as she takes custody of their daughters. Jack feels that this divorce will grant them the chance to live together finally. Nevertheless, Ennis does not want to be away from his kids. Still unable to be open about their intimacy, Ennis and Jack continue to have infrequent meetings on Brokeback Mountain. Some months after their last meeting, Ennis learns that Jack has died when a postcard Ennis sent to him is returned, stamped "deceased." He visits Jack’s parents, and in Jack’s room sees two old shirts hidden at the back of the closet. The shirts that are hung on the same hanger are the ones they wore on their last day on Brokeback Mountain in 1963. At the end of the movie, Ennis cries while revealing that he hung these two shirts together beside a postcard of Brokeback Mountain inside his own closet’s door.
Contrary to popular belief, Brokeback Mountain is a high cost film with its budget being $14 million (excluding the advertisement allotment). A person who has seen the movie might cry in disbelief upon hearing this statement. There were hardly any complicated computer effects shown. The costumes of the cast were merely outfits reminiscent of the old cowboy days. Where has the money gone, then? Still, upon the moviegoer’s second glance, or second stare, rather, he may eventually realize that the sheep, together with the other animals in the movie, are enough to cost much of this budget.
There was not too much dialogue in the film. This has led people to joke that Brokeback Mountain is a silent movie after all. It is then safe to be assumed that Lee wanted to give more emphasis on the setting’s imagery and the artists’ movements than the dialogue among the characters. Unfortunately, the dialogue was not thoroughly efficient. This was primarily because most of the conversations were spoken very softly that they have become almost inaudible. If not for this reason, it could only be that the artists’, most especially Ledger’s, speeches were heavily accented. Ledger’s aim of giving a cowboy-ish accent was not thoroughly effective. It appeared more like he was muttering to himself than speaking to someone. He was eating his words to the point that a clearly articulated word “mountain” would come as a surprise to the moviegoer. The movie’s catch phrase, "I wish I knew how to quit you," nonetheless, was clearly stated by Gylenhaal. Good thing.
With regards to the artists’ portrayal of their respective characters, it will suffice to say that their acting, on the whole, was convincing and realistic. The casting was well thought of. Ledger’s and Gylenhaal’s roles were quite challenging taking into consideration the reports that several actors declined to audition for the film due to its head-on portrayal of an intimate relationship between two men. Yet, they fared well, and gave justice to their roles. Williams further proved her performing prowess particularly in the scene when she and Ledger had a violent confrontation in the kitchen. Hathaway made a shocking move when she showed top frontal nudity (although it was only for a few seconds), considering that her role in the latest installment of Princess Diaries was that of a dainty and conservative princess.
Brokeback saw Ang Lee as a chrysalis majestically emerging from its cocoon for three main reasons. Though his other directorial jobs were also met with success, this film is not like the others he has made throughout his career. Considering the films he previously directed as Ice Storm, Ride with the Devil, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hulk, it is surprising and commendable that he ventured to take on a different genre this time. The shift from action to romance, unconventional romance, that is, is quite distinct. Secondly, the fact that he, an Asian director, was able to direct and to finish a Western film shows his improvement with his craft. It depicts the cast and crew’s respect and trust in his capabilities and ideas. Furthermore, with Brokeback Mountain, he became the first Asian to win as Best Director in the Oscars. This instance demonstrates that Asians, aside from also being good actors and actresses, could also manage to be competitive and well faring directors in Hollywood. Thirdly, Lee was brave enough to portray a social stigma that haunts a selected minority scattered throughout the world.
The plot, though common in the few homosexual romantic films shown in cinema, is of relevant social significance: When will homosexual relationships be accepted for real by our society? Will they be accepted at all? The movie’s tagline, “Love is a Force of Nature” was shown with how Ennis and Jack tried to pursue their relationship even though it is considered a taboo. It depicted that nothing, not even their marriages with their wives, could ruin their relationship. The marked comparison between the dull, lethargic homes of Ennis and Jack, and the open, natural and rich scenery of Brokeback Mountain portray the interplay of their feelings. On Brokeback, they experience bliss together, whereas in their respective homes, they are not wholly happy as they constantly feel a tender longing for each other. The plot was all right save the confusing scene near the movie’s end when Lureen and Ennis were talking over the phone about Jack’s death. There was an uncertainty as to how and why Jack really died because of two reasons. One, Lureen’s facial expressions were hard to grasp, and not entirely conclusive of anything. Two, a short shot showing Jack being hit and punched to death was also shown. This boggled the minds of some movie watchers. Others were even led to speculate that it was Lureen who had Jack killed.
Amid the movie’s several flaws, Brokeback Mountain is appreciable. It is a film for the liberal truth-seekers. It is for those who want to perceive the reality that there is a small division of the world population that treats a certain ‘Brokeback Mountain’ as their haven and home, where they can enjoy freedom from criticism and ostracism. It is just that at times, this ‘mountain’ seems too hard and too high to climb.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Pop-up

I'm using Mozilla Firefox. And I have a dial-up internet connection. Whenever I get disconnected from my internet service provider, Firefox pops up a pop-up as:

Isipin mong naka-Firefox ka rin. Or kung naka-Firefox ka na, never mind this step. Tapos isipin mo na biglang lumabas sa screen yung ganyang pop-up sa screen mo. Anong gagawin mo? Anong pipiliin mong option? Ano ba ang mga option? Isa lang naman, diba? Wala nang iba maliban sa 'OK', right? 'Ok' lang? Nagsusumigaw na 'OK' lang?

Oo nga, maganda naman ang aim nung pop-up na yun. To inform (Naks. Pang-comm na sagot.) Pero the fact remains na isa lang ang pwede mong gawin: i-click ang 'OK'.
Yeah, right. Oo, 'OK' lang talaga. OK?

That's the sad part.

May mga instances sa buhay na wala kang ibang choice. Wala kang alternative. Walang mapagpipilian. Simpleng 'OK' lang ang pwede. Sige lang. Go. Parang ganun. Kailangan mo lang tanggapin kung ano man yun. Mabuti sana kung magandang bagay yung hinahain sa'yo. E pano kung hindi? Pano kung mahirap? Pano kung masakit? Pano kung mabigat? Pano kung mabaho? Pano kung chaka? Pano kung epal? Pano kung ayaw mo? Pano na? Pano? Wala, eh. Kailangan mo lang lunukin.

Yung tipong maalat yung asin. Yung parang mabalahibo yung shih tzu. Tipo bang ang tatlo lang yung gulong ng tricycle. Tipo bang madulas yung langis. Yung parang hindi mo mabilang lahat ng bituin sa langit o buhangin sa beach. Tipong wala sa lahat ng library sa mundo yung autobiography ni Snow White at yung mga alagad niyang dwarfs. Tipong sakang yung favorite mong manika. Yung parang hindi mo masyado makain ang papel, tussie pwede pa. Tipo bang QWERTYU ang first seven letters sa first row ng keyboard ng PC at hindi SEXBOMB.

Tipo bang iniwan ka ng mahal mo. Tipong may ibang mahal yung mahal mo. Yung parang hindi ka na niya papansinin dahil masyado na siyang lango sa bagong mahal niya. Tipo bang isa ka na lang particulate sa atmosphere sa kanya. Parang:

Bakit ganun? Ganun talaga, eh. Click 'OK' na. Sayang kuryente.

Hay nako. Ang buhay talaga, parang bato. It's hard. So hard. Tsk tsk.

Share: Na-inspire lang ako sa influx ng sad quotes sa'kin today.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Toxicity at its Finest

This toxicity has taken its toll on me. Toink.