Wednesday, 23 January 2008
I don't know how many hours I've spent talking about Brokeback Mountain. The film took us all back to the story, or to the story for the first time; Annie Proulx's wonderful story. But there was also the partisan aspect of identification. Who were you? Who would you have loved? What would you have done? On the one hand, Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal); on the other Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger). There's something not only ironic, but cruel about the names Proulx gave them. Jack Twist, who never wavered, whose love for Ennis was constant and insistent; Ennis Del Mar, who refused to adapt, sea-like, who refused to go with the flow. Giuseppe and I and our friends divided into factions, in the mildest sense. I was with Jack because I've never had any doubt that what counts is love, and let the rest go hang. But what Heath Ledger did was make the doubts of Ennis so real, and so valuable, that even the most partisan understood what it must be like to not be partisan; understood what it must be like to contain the other within oneself, as Ennis did. Jack was simple; Ennis was what resisted simplicity, for the worst and the best of motives. In the hands of a lesser actor, Ennis would have been the villain, the spoiler. In the hands of Heath Ledger, he broke my heart.