The inevitable day

I’ve finally seen Brokeback Mountain, after having it hyped up beyond reasonable expectation by everyone else who’s seen it, and the fact that it swept the boards at the Oscars.

So, I’m afraid, I went into the cinema resenting the film before it even began, and found myself noting inconsequential irritants all the way through.

Of course, the Certificate page couldn’t role without some wag saying he thought he’d come to see Bareback Mountain instead.

(Spoilers if you’ve not seen it)

Anyway. Accentuate the positive. I liked the scenery. I sort of liked the actors (although what was that square muscle structure around the blond one’s mouth?). I very much liked the idea of buggering off up the moutains with horses and a tent for months at a stretch. Less keen on living off elk steaks (whyever weren’t they catching something smaller like rabbits? Going straight in for an elk? How could you eat all that before it went off?) I’m sure in Wales, where they also have sheep and mountains, they have rather fewer sheep per mountain than they did on Brokeback.

I very much liked watching the time passing with no more than subtle hints from children growing up, fashions and appliances changing, and everyone except the blond actor getting wealthier.

I did like the clothes. I wasn’t mad keen on the personal hygiene, but then I suppose 60s ranchers really didn’t have a whole lot more than the clothes they stood up in. Have always liked the denim+shirt look, and have several times in the past found myself eying up cowboy boots and wondering if I’d look good in them. I’ve always wanted to have a go on a horse. Riding seems like a fun way to get exercise.

And the bits I didn’t like: we were watching a somewhat tired old print, so the soundtrack was stretched and testing on the ears. Music drifted in and out of key as if someone was wobbling a pitch key. It’s not as if it was the best soundtrack ever to begin with, but those three guitar chords over and over will stay with me for a while. And every time the dark-haired actor tried to sing or played the harmonica I lost the edge off another filling.

The blond actor mumbled and was very difficult to understand. I found myself reaching for the ‘subtitle’ button before I remembered where I was.

I didn’t quite understand how the cowboys managed to get a relationship going. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of signals, or having-stuff-in-common. Just one drunken shag out of nowhere that eventually came to be a habit.

Why is it always short stories always turn into long films? Maybe I should dig out the Proulx story and see what it’s like.

Couldn’t really see why the movie got made. Maybe Hollywood is scratching its own back congratulating itself on how far it’s come that we can have important prizewinning mainstream gay movies now.

On the other hand, I saw it at the beginning of the week, and I’m still thinking about it now, which is more than happens with most films I go and see. And I can’t say I’ve ever really seen anything like it before, which is also not true of most films I see. Maybe I should go and see it again.

Maybe not. The main feeling I’ve taken out from it is one of depression. Love stories always leave me feeling depressed and uncomprehending.


4 comments on “The inevitable day

  1. jonxyz says:

    Read the short story, I enjoyed it a lot more than the film the film was good…but soooo long. (and i’m not exactly known for having a short attention span)

    The story is available online at:

  2. Iain Dale says:

    Finally, someone who shares my view of this movie. I dragged my partner along to see it. He hates cinemas, so I was expecting a constant moan, but he loved it and I was at best lukewarm. There were so many anomalies in it and for me it was only rescued by the scenery. Pity really. There are some far more superior “coming out” movies which have far deeper messages, and they generally have better acting. I don’t like films which are full of deep and meaningful looks and very odd dialogue. This had both.

  3. niles says:

    Thanks for the link, Jon — I didn’t think for a minute it would be available online. Will reserve for later reading.

    Iain — go read the story!

  4. StephenPeng says:

    The Inevitable Day

    Faustus, O Faustus
    Now hast thou but one bare hour to live,
    And then thou must be damn’d perpetually!
    Stand still, you ever-moving spheres of heaven,
    That time may cease, and midnight never come;
    Fair Nature’s eye, rise, rise again, and make
    Perpetual day; or let this hour be but
    A year, a month, a week, a natural day,
    That Faustus may repent and save his soul!
    O lente, lente currite, noctis equi!
    The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike,
    The devil will come, and Faustus must be damn’d.
    O, I’ll leap up to my God!–Who pulls me down?–
    See, see, where Christ’s blood streams in the firmament!
    One drop would save my soul, half a drop: ah, my Christ!–
    Ah, rend not my heart for naming of my Christ!
    Yet will I call on him: O, spare me, Lucifer!–
    Where is it now? ’tis gone: and see, where God
    Stretcheth out his arm, and bends his ireful brows!
    Mountains and hills, come, come, and fall on me,
    And hide me from the heavy wrath of God!
    No, no!
    Then will I headlong run into the earth:
    Earth, gape! O, no, it will not harbour me!
    You stars that reign’d at my nativity,
    Whose influence hath allotted death and hell,
    Now draw up Faustus, like a foggy mist.
    Into the entrails of yon labouring cloud[s],
    That, when you vomit forth into the air,
    My limbs may issue from your smoky mouths,
    So that my soul may but ascend to heaven!
    [The clock strikes the half-hour.]
    Ah, half the hour is past! ’twill all be past anon
    O God,
    If thou wilt not have mercy on my soul,
    Yet for Christ’s sake, whose blood hath ransom’d me,
    Impose some end to my incessant pain;
    Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years,
    A hundred thousand, and at last be sav’d!
    O, no end is limited to damned souls!
    Why wert thou not a creature wanting soul?
    Or why is this immortal that thou hast?
    Ah, Pythagoras’ metempsychosis, were that true,
    This soul should fly from me, and I be chang’d
    Unto some brutish beast! all beasts are happy,
    For, when they die,
    Their souls are soon dissolv’d in elements;
    But mine must live still to be plagu’d in hell.
    Curs’d be the parents that engender’d me!
    No, Faustus, curse thyself, curse Lucifer
    That hath depriv’d thee of the joys of heaven.
    [The clock strikes twelve.]
    O, it strikes, it strikes! Now, body, turn to air,
    Or Lucifer will bear thee quick to hell!
    [Thunder and lightning.]
    O soul, be chang’d into little water-drops,
    And fall into the ocean, ne’er be found!’
    O, mercy, heaven! look not so fierce on me!
    Adders and serpents, let me breathe a while!
    Ugly hell, gape not! come not, Lucifer!
    I’ll burn my books!–O Mephistophilis!

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