Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain is an effective and affecting psychological study of a man so afraid of revealing emotions that he nearly implodes due to his inability to express himself. Heath Ledger gives a beautifully nuanced performance as Ennis Del Mar, a man of the land who for a number of reasons is unable to share himself in a real way with anyone other than the love of his life -- and even then he is unable to open up fully. The fact that his great love is another man provides yet another reason why he feels he must keep his emotions inside himself. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jack Twist, the more outgoing of the pair. His gregariousness wins over the taciturn Ennis, but it also is the character trait that will eventually cause the two to have their biggest fight. The film smartly observes the men's relationships with their wives. One realizes that Ennis' inability to communicate would have caused trouble in his marriage even without his affair. Jack, being the more outgoing of the two, actually attempts to find ways to satisfy his closeted impulses even though emotionally he is drawn totally to Ennis. The pair are more than ably supported by Michelle Williams playing a simple but very smart woman, Randy Quaid, and Linda Cardellini, who gives Ennis a piece of advice about love that rings remarkably true in a film that seeks nothing more than to show what is inside the heart of a man trapped by inarticulateness. The film's final scene is so small it plays at the time like an anticlimax, but when a viewer takes stock of everything the character has gone through, one realizes how profoundly the character has changed.
by Perry Seibert review