When it was announced in 2004 that Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain had gone into production it was already being called the “gay cowboy movie,” and it seemed impossible to believe that it could be anything but a gimmick. Then the movie opened at the end of 2005, and it became something else entirely—a critics’ darling and an Oscar hopeful, hyped up and buzzed about. Within certain circles it was being hailed as a watershed film, while for others it was a novelty item with a premise too ripe to resist mocking. And so it became impossible to see the film for the controversy that attended it. Brokeback was more than a movie; it was a cultural phenomenon, a sacred cow, a cause célèbre, and a punchline, something on which everyone, myself included, felt the need to weigh in.
|Ennis cradles Jack's shirt: Brokeback as tear-jerker.|
|A film about landscapes.|
|Gazes of longing: Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack.|
|A love scene.|