Plot The year is 1963 and two jobbing farmhands (Gyllenhaal and Ledger) take a gig tending sheep on a remote mountain. During their months alone, they form a bond that extends to a sexual relationship, but once the job is finished they return to their daily lives. However, the attraction remains, and will haunt them over the next two decades.
Verdict Those made uneasy by the subject-matter have little to fear from this elegiac and engrossing drama, a wonderful meditation on longing and regret shot with an eye for classic Hollywood. Gyllenhaal gets the show-role, but Ledger’s buttoned-down performance is a triumph of quiet complexity.