The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

This 'modern' Western, exploring death, delusion and friendship, and helmed by actor Tommy Lee Jones, has been kissed on the feet by reviewers. Border patrol officer Norton (Pepper) "accidentally" shoots illegal immigrant Mel (Cedillo) dead. Local law enforcement turns a blind eye, but Mel's buddy Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) is fiery & grieve sticken. Pete forces Norton into a bizarre pilgrimage, fulfilling a promise to Mel, to bury the body in Mexican soil.

Winner of Best Actor and Best Screenplay at Cannes 2005.
2006Rating: M, contains offensive language & sexual references99 minsUSA, France
DramaWestern
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Reviews & comments

Review

I didn't choose to go to this movie and so was not sure what to expect. I really enjoyed it! I would describe it as black comedy western, which is unsually not my thing but this was an exception. Tommy-Lee and the border patrol man play off each other excellently. At moments you are not sure whether it is ok to laugh or whether you should be shocked! I...

4.0

The landscape transversed is both geographical and emotional

This was a great surprise. A multi-layered story of death, retribution, loneliness, and remembrance. Pete's journey with the body of his friend will bring forward the stark contrast between the values of two ways of life, and the landscape transversed is both geographical and emotional. Highly recommended.

5.0
Village Voice

Village Voice

press

Arriaga's script (a prize at Cannes) has a lovely, fascinating shape to it, even if his crushing portrayal of white Americans--all of them, even Jones, suffering from a zombified affect and crippling shortsightedness--is somewhat counterset against his Mexicans, who are all morally balanced, if not always happy or nice...

Variety

Variety

press

Outstandingly realized on all levels...

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

press

The film is dreadfully slow without much in the way of rewards...

Premiere Magazine

Premiere Magazine

press

Three Burials is beautiful, authentic and brutally observant of human nature. With real Tex-Mex backdrops instead of the usual Monument Valley vistas and characters too complex to withstand simple white-hat/black-hat reductionism, Three Burials is a visionary portrait of the New West. This is the terrain of Eastwood and Peckinpah, saddled with the concerns of 21st-century life...

4.0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Aided by the sublime work of cinematographer Chris Menges, who conjures dramatic shots out of the big skies and low roofs of the landscapes, Arriaga and Estrada have made a film of grandeur and almost mythic power. The film plays with elemental concepts - the importance of a decent burial (a Western standard); justice and revenge; coincidence; loyalty and betrayal - and it does so with a seeming effortlessness...

4.0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Grizzled Texan Tommy Lee Jones has made an exceptionally moving, surprisingly funny, often beautiful film, packed with unforgettable moments and note-perfect performances...

5.0
BBC

BBC

press

Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) has a fondness for showing events out of order and from different perspectives. But Jones' directorial style is as clean and unpretentious as his acting and he keeps the structural jiggery-pokery to a minimum. This is to the good, showing faith in the story and Jones' own stern, unflinching portrayal of a man unmoored by sorrow and loneliness...

4.0
Village Voice

Village Voice

press

Arriaga's script (a prize at Cannes) has a lovely, fascinating shape to it, even if his crushing portrayal of white Americans--all of them, even Jones, suffering from a zombified affect and crippling shortsightedness--is somewhat counterset against his Mexicans, who are all morally balanced, if not always happy or nice...

Variety

Variety

press

Outstandingly realized on all levels...

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle

press

The film is dreadfully slow without much in the way of rewards...

Premiere Magazine

Premiere Magazine

press

Three Burials is beautiful, authentic and brutally observant of human nature. With real Tex-Mex backdrops instead of the usual Monument Valley vistas and characters too complex to withstand simple white-hat/black-hat reductionism, Three Burials is a visionary portrait of the New West. This is the terrain of Eastwood and Peckinpah, saddled with the concerns of 21st-century life...

4.0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Aided by the sublime work of cinematographer Chris Menges, who conjures dramatic shots out of the big skies and low roofs of the landscapes, Arriaga and Estrada have made a film of grandeur and almost mythic power. The film plays with elemental concepts - the importance of a decent burial (a Western standard); justice and revenge; coincidence; loyalty and betrayal - and it does so with a seeming effortlessness...

4.0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Grizzled Texan Tommy Lee Jones has made an exceptionally moving, surprisingly funny, often beautiful film, packed with unforgettable moments and note-perfect performances...

5.0
BBC

BBC

press

Screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) has a fondness for showing events out of order and from different perspectives. But Jones' directorial style is as clean and unpretentious as his acting and he keeps the structural jiggery-pokery to a minimum. This is to the good, showing faith in the story and Jones' own stern, unflinching portrayal of a man unmoored by sorrow and loneliness...

4.0

Review

I didn't choose to go to this movie and so was not sure what to expect. I really enjoyed it! I would describe it as black comedy western, which is unsually not my thing but this was an exception. Tommy-Lee and the border patrol man play off each other excellently. At moments you are not sure whether it is ok to laugh or whether you should be shocked!...

4.0

The landscape transversed is both geographical and emotional

This was a great surprise. A multi-layered story of death, retribution, loneliness, and remembrance. Pete's journey with the body of his friend will bring forward the stark contrast between the values of two ways of life, and the landscape transversed is both geographical and emotional. Highly recommended.

5.0