Ang Lee is back. After Hulk, soulless mess that it was, one had to wonder whether the guy had lost his singular gift: the ability to tell deep, emotional stories with astonishing subtlety and restraint. He had always stretched himself and, until Hulk, he always stuck to his strengths, sfx-laden franchise-enabled flicks featuring musclebound green giants not among them. (Does the world really need another Michael Bay?)
Fortunately, Lee’s Hulk follow-up finds him stretching himself in a direction that makes complete sense. And Brokeback Mountain represents a triumphant return to form. The acting so powerfully understated, the scenery so believably gorgeous, the story so heartfelt, so undeniable. The film captures middle America with a kind of lyrical toughness I’ve not seen before. And against that backdrop it tells the most unstereotypical of love stories in all its purity and complexity. Yet that complexity is conveyed so quietly, so assuredly, so naturally. This film really is a sight to behold. Ah, yes, Ang Lee is back.
For more, give a listen to NPR’s review/interview. Those who enjoy the movie really owe it to themselves to read the source story by Annie Proulx. Her writing matches (and sometimes surpasses) Lee’s visuals with a gravelly beauty all its own.
Update: Shack has been kind enough to provide the above sentiment summarized for the testosterone poisoned (slightly rude but worth it).