The premise is that two cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) are stuck for the sumemr of 1963 on a remote mountain called Brokeback Mountain, with only the sheep and each other for company. And what do two men do when you coop them up together for long enough? Of course, they have sex, even though their friendship has been established as a close friendship rather than a romantic one. It has a horrible undertone of rape to it, not exactly promoting the idea that this is a universal love story.
To cancel out all of that, there's two female love interests- Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway- who both have partial nude scenes, for no apparant reason. They both do fine in roles that aren't exactly a gift for a female actress.
Onto the performances of Ledger and Gyllenhaal. They're very good, apart from the fact that there is no sexual chemistry. They look like they're enduring the love scenes. To be fair, you could argue that they're portraying their self-loathing and guilt but they seem perfectly comfortable performing with the lead women. There's a chemistry between them as close mates- I don't doubt the strength of the frienship. What I do doubt is what they're actually meeting up at Brokeback Mountain consistently over a period of twenty years for, because nothing you see between them on screen is something that you'd sacrifice your family for.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad film to rent and the end is quite heartbreaking, but Hollywood have diluted the story, trying not to make it too gay but adding in the odd titillating reminder that the cowboys are gay