Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (15)

Tommy Lee Jones, 2005, USA/France (121 mins)
Tommy Lee Jones, Barry Pepper, Dwight Yoakum
When Mexican immigrant Melquiades Estrada is shot on the Texan border, the authorities are quick to turn a blind eye. But as his sole friend, obstinate cowboy Pete Perkins (Jones) is determined to reap a bloody justice and fulfil the promise to lay the corpse to rest back in Estrada’s homeland. And to accompany him on this voyage Perkins kidnaps the border guard (Pepper) responsible for the murder.
Scripted by Guillermo Arriaga, writer of Amores Perros and 21 Grams, Three Burials maintains the intensity of these previous films, its traumatised characters sweltering equally in the diner and trailer park as in the empty desert. Although violent, the masculinity here is not muscle-bound, but defined by a gritty compassion, with the integrity of Perkins’ promise standing as a show of strength against a vast harrowing loneliness. With respite in small exchanges of hospitality and mercy, Three Burials offers a soulful and sweaty journey.
Kate Taylor

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