Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, The  (2005, U.S.A./France/Mexico)

Studio: Madman Entertainment

Rating: M

Running time: 121 minutes

Available Format: DVD

The body of Melquiades Estrada is found in a shallow grave.  As it turns out, quickly buried after Texas Border Patrolman, Mike Norton, shot him in mysterious circumstances.  Ignoring the crime, the local authorities then move the corpse to a pauper’s grave in the cemetery.

Veteran cowboy and ranch foreman Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) was Melquiades’ best friend.  Seeking justice, he forces Norton to dig up the body at gunpoint.  Pete then forces Norton to join him across the remote Texan desert, with the body strapped to a mule. What follows is a dangerous  journey into Mexico toward the third burial – and promised resting place – of Melquiades Estrada.

This modern Western, Three Burials marks the directorial debut of Tommy Lee Jones. The dramatic and poetic story weaves past and present as it gradually reveals a great friendship, and the cost of a promise made and kept.   The film also explores the ongoing tensions between USA and Mexican relations as a result of the international border.