The film starts off slow, showing the connection between Jack and Ennis as they tended sheep, down to the culmination and the aftermath of their summer. When they leave the mountains, both men lead separate and different lives, both adhering to social norms while keeping their relationship a secret for various reasons. I like how different both characters dealt with their secret – Ennis was only himself with Jack, but refuses to act up on it because of a traumatizing experience. Jack wanted to be with Ennis, but deals with the absence through other means. Their decisions put a strain in their relationship, causing a disconnection between the two characters. It’s because of this disconnection that their relationship turns heartbreaking, not only for the two of them, but for others who are aware – particularly Alma, Ennis’ wife.
This was a different role for Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, and because of the difference in character, both actors delivered performances that are not alike, but equally great. Each role demanded different reactions from them, and they delivered. Michelle Williams also gave a convincing performance; as much as one would want to root for Ennis and Jack, one can’t help but to look at Alma’s heartbreak as she watched her husband light up whenever Jack was around.
This was a great piece by Ang Lee, though I wouldn’t call it his masterpiece. The film, despite starting strong, was a bit uneven towards the second half. Still, it doesn’t skimp on information and builds up its main characters.
This is my blind spot pick for February. Click the banner for the rest of my entries.