The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Tommy Lee Jones makes his directorial debut (and does a fine job of directing himself) with The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, one of the stranger films to come down the pike in some time. It’s a twisted road movie where some men go on a long trek, and one of those men happens to be a corpse. In its own peculiar way, the film is a grand statement on the powerful bonds of friendship and loyalty. When a couple of poachers spot a coyote feeding upon an obscured prey near the Mexican border, they do some target practice and take the critter out. When they go to confirm their kill, they discover the object the coyote was eating was a dead man. The body is brought back to a West Texas town for a short investigation, which reveals the deceased is Melquiades Estrada, friend to local cowpoke Pete Perkins (Jones). Pete kidnaps his friend’s accidental killer (a terrific Barry Pepper), and the rest of the film is the strangest of road movies.