The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

three-burialsCritics who wallpapered The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada with references to Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia missed the point entirely.

Alfredo Garcia was a twilight howl of pain and rage by a filmmaker who was losing his vision, while Three Burials is a focused meditation by a director who is just finding his.

Tommy Lee Jones directed and starred in the picture about a  contemporary  Texas rancher determined to administer a kind of justice, but it is by no means your usual revenge Western. Set in the Trans-Pecos, it’s one part Odessa, two parts Odyssey, and although the picture generated raves and awards, it never gained much domestic attention. The DVD is free of the usual extras, except for a running commentary by Jones and fellow actors Dwight Yoakam and January Jones. This actually turns out to be a better than good thing, because sitting and listening to Yoakam and Tommy Lee Jones casually discuss shots, scenes, lighting and location, as well as the “mechanics of faith” is great entertainment. “Human behavior is so ridiculous and absurd at times,” Yoakam says. “Otherwise, Dwight, there would be no divinity,” Jones replies.

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