Last night, “Brokeback Mountain” opened in New York. All showings were sold-out, and although we had tickets and arrived early, we could not find two adjacent seats. I scanned the crowd wondering who all these people were who wanted to see two cowboys in love.I would estimate the crowd to have been 95% straight and rather young. During the previews, a recruitment ad for the National Guard was shown. It contained comments from enlistees who gushed about how “wunnerful it is to serve Amurka in the Guard”. This was greeted by some clever anti-war-in-Iraq shouts from the crowd that had everyone laughing. They seemed liberal, but I began to worry about how they would react during the love scenes we were probably about to see in the feature. My worries proved needless, and the highest tribute I can pay to this extremely fine movie is that everyone in the theater was spellbound by it from start to finish.
Do not read any reviews before you see it. Especially avoid Stephen Holden’s review in the New York Times. It is downright stupid for a reviewer to tell his readers the story of the movie, to outline the plot, more or less, and to disclose the happy, sad, ambiguous, redemptive, win or lose ending to any movie. I prefer not to know what happens until I see it happen. For this reason, I stopped reading that review after a few paragraphs, and I am glad I did.
Without causing harm, I can tell you that everything about this movie is almost perfectly rendered, but as C and I walked out of the theater we were both surprised by our mutual wondering about one odd scene. It involved a lingering close-up of the back of Jack’s hand. There seemed to be wide discolorations on his skin. Were they lesions? If so, nothing before or after that shot related in any way to the spots we both noticed. We think it was accidental. To be sure, I may read Annie Proulx’s novella to see if there is some reference that was almost entirely edited out of the film, with one shot accidentally remaining. I’ll be curious to know if anyone else notices or can explain this.