Wed. May 29th, 2024

The Oscar nominated film “Brokeback Mountain” is not solely about a couple of 1960s cowboys experiencing homosexuality during the coldest nights working in America’s Rocky Mountains. It’s about cold-blooded murder.

Based on the short book by E. Annie Proulx, ultimately the fictional tragedy centers on the intolerance of cowboys which leads to homicide. In order to win multiple awards in The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2006 ceremonies it has to be categorized as a drama. The Ang Lee directed film is the best this year.

Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) never met each other before they got to work. The two are a similar age: either in their late teens or early twenties. Joe Aguirre (Randy Quaid) is the Signal, Wyoming bossman and sheep herd owner that hires the two with virtually no interview. Aguirre gives the two their instructions along with some curses and truck loads of his bad attitude. Aguirre has lost up to 25 percent of his herd to coyotes in the past. He has Twist sleeps with the herd and Del Mar cook and do the day running.

During a whiskey filled evening in the mountains, the pair are supposed to be watching the sheep. A deadly cold sets in and the fire isn’t kept stoked. A full moon is over Brokeback Mountain with no cloud cover. Del Mar feel asleep outside while Twist took up a bunk in the tent.

The herd was basically unattended.

Del Mar meanders into the tent. The two are nearly asleep when physical intimacy occurs between the two. Not much is said in the next few days but much is understood. They have a new relationship.

Del Mar’s life has not been easy thus far. His family kicked him out. He has plans to marry a girl named Alma (Michelle Williams) in the fall.

Twist is trying to make it on the rodeo circuit and work as a ranch hand. He is an only child. He falls in love and marries a cowgirl named Lureen Newsome (Anne Hathaway). Her parents own and operate a successful business in Texas. Twist gets a job working for her father but that relationship is difficult.

At most, each character might have a high school education. The men are cowboys; the women are cowgirls.

After years pass, both men start families and have children. Twist has a boy; Del Mar has two girls. But their camaraderie brings them back together. At first, every few years, then the visits became more frequent, up to several times a year.

That’s infidelity folks.

Del Mar’s wife finds out what’s going on and divorces him. Del Mar is still involved with the lives of his offspring and pays his child support. He loves his girls.

Twist had picked up a male prostitute in Mexico. To me, he initiated the relationship with Del Mar. He is murdered by three cowboys in a ditch in Texas.

That’s homicide, folks. And that’s a hate crime.

Twist probably got his ‘signal’ crossed between what a weekend in the Mountains meant to other cowboys. Coincidentally, Del Mar’s father brought him at the age of nine to see a dead man who had been dragged by his penis for unwanted advances.

That’s homicide, folks. And that’s a hate crime.

But when it came to the work on Brokeback Mountain, the bossman of the cowboys and owner of the herd had it right. Aguirre wasn’t paying the two to “have the dogs tend to the sheep while they clipped the rose.” They were being paid to work, not get drunk on the job.

Aguirre lost more of his business product than he expected. That’s why he didn’t hire the two cowboys back the next summer.

That’s legal.

Andrew Brasfield is a student at West Chester University and the online editor of The Quad.

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