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(Widescreen Edition)

Beautifully acted by a solid cast and sensitively directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN ($30) is definitely one of the best films that Iíve seen in quite some time. This fascinating character study tells a very universal story about longing and trying to find fulfillment in this world. Spanning a period of approximately twenty years, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN plays out the relationship between two cowboys, who meet in 1963, while herding sheep. When we first meet Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) they appear to be typical Marlboro Men, however being isolated with each other over the course of a summer, they develop a friendship that leads to something more intimate. While the two cowboys go back to their respective lives, each marrying and having children, the two can never escape their feelings for one another; resulting in a series of "fishing trips" in the isolated wilderness of where they met.

Heath Ledger gives a truly outstanding introspective performance in which he underplays everything, rarely letting down his guard; Ledger maintains a leathery cowboy persona, even when his characterís heart is breaking. Jake Gyllenhaal is also exceedingly good, bringing to life a character ready to confront his feelings and the world- even if the world was still decades away from being ready for him. Additionally, Michelle Williams delivers a terrific supporting performance as EnnisĎ long-suffering wife Alma. The solid cast of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN also features Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway, Kate Mara, Valerie Planche, Graham Beckel, David Harbour, Roberta Maxwell, Peter McRobbie, Anna Faris and Linda Cardellini.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN available on DVD in a 1.85:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is generally a very nice looking presentation. Landscapes are appealingly captured by the films cinematography and the image is crisp and rather nicely defined. Some mild softness creeps in places, but it never really calls intention to itself. Colors are strongly rendered and the flesh tones are attractive. Blacks appear accurate, whites are stable and the picture produces smooth contrast and good shadow detail. The film elements are very clean and there is little appreciable grain. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN comes with a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Much of the film is a talky drama; so there are few opportunities for the sound design to show off. Still, the sound has an open and effortless quality that makes good use of the outlying channels, and occasional sound effects are convincingly rendered. Additionally, musical integration and fidelity are excellent. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. A French 5.1 channel track is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extra materials. On Being A Cowboy runs five minutes and takes one to cowboy camp with the actors. Directing From The Heart: Ang Lee clocks in at seven minutes and focuses on the contributions of the Academy Award winning director. From Script To Screen: Interviews With Larry McMurtry And Diana Ossana is ten-minute program that focuses the filmís writers. Sharing The Story: The Making Of Brokeback Mountain is largely a twenty-one minute promo piece for the film featuring cast & crewmembers.

As I stated above, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is a beautifully acted and sensitively directed film. Universalís DVD offers a solid presentation that is certain to please fans. If you still havenít experienced BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, the DVD is a great way to get acquainted with the film. Recommended.



Brokeback Mountain (Widescreen Edition) (2005)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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