Brokeback Mountain (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal) are ranch hands who take a job herding sheep, strangers who happen to wind up on the same detail. The job is to herd the sheep on Brokeback Mountain, a task which requires a good deal of time isolated from outside human contact. As time passes, Ennis and Jack get to know each other and forge a friendship, all while dealing with the various details of the work assignment. Soon the two men explore a physical attraction that neither expected and neither would admit to once off the mountain. After the job ends, the men go their own ways and start lives with families, but the bond remains and the two return to Brokeback at times. The two men try to repress their feelings and hide them from a world that wouldn’t understand, but can they ever truly express their emotions?

Ah yes, Brokeback Mountain. This tale of rugged romance sparked controversy over its theme of love between two rough, tough cowboys. In truth, the hype and press about the content overshadowed the movie itself and a few years later, little buzz remains about this picture. Brokeback Mountain is a solid movie, but as far as romance is concerned, there isn’t much here. The awkward back and forth between the leads works, but the tender side of the coin is rarely explored. So as a romance (homosexual or otherwise), this film falls short, but as a drama, it is solid. The performances are good also, as the rather small cast works hard to bring this story to life in believable fashion. The content is sure to offend some, but Brokeback Mountain is a decent drama that works well and is well worth a rental to those interested.

Video: How does it look?

Brokeback Mountain is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is the same transfer as the HD-DVD, but it still holds up well enough. The print is clean and the grain is reasonable, giving the image a film-like presence. Detail is strong, very much so at times, but some DNR is visible in several scenes. Not to an extreme level, but enough to be noticeable and enough to dock the score as a result. Even so, this is still a great overall visual effort.

Audio: How does it sound?

A new DTS HD 5.1 option is here, which improves over the HD-DVD’s Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack. This movie doesn’t have a lot of power or presence, but this new mix is more effective. The front channels sound more robust and spacious, which helps bring the atmosphere of some scenes to life. The dialogue is smooth also, while the music sounds excellent. The surrounds aren’t used often, but when the need arises, this track delivers. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A little over an hour’s worth of featurettes are here, but little depth is provided. Given the film’s success, I am surprised a more insightful selection of extras wasn’t included. This does have more than previous editions, but the new additions don’t offer much more in terms of depth.

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