Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Year: 2006
Director: Tommy Lee Jones
Writer: Guillermo Arriaga
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Dwight Yoakham, January Jones
Tommy Lee Jones is as Texan as a cattle skull on the panhandle in most of his roles, and he was the perfect director to bring this story to life on screen.

Using the same skewed narrative structure writer Guillermo Arriaga and director Alejandro González Iñárritu employed to such good effect in Amores Perros and 21 Grams, it tells the story of ranch hand Pete (Jones) and the Mexican immigrant he befriends before tragedy strikes. A violent and trigger-happy border patrolman Mike who's new in town (Pepper) shoots Estrada dead in a fit of tension.

Determined to punish the perpetrator, Pete kidnaps Mike and forces him to exhume Estrada's body and take it home to his Mexican village home for a proper burial.

It's a story of forced redemption, and somewhere along the line the increasingly desperate Mike tries everything to escape Pete's clutches as they meet a Lynchian cast of characters on the way.

It's well photographed and captures the scrubby, hot world of the US/Mexican border well and contains plenty of wry humour, but there's less of a point than the film would have you believe, particularly in the subplot of Mike's attractive young wife and her hatred of their new home.

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