Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

4.6 5

Cast: Barry Pepper, Julio Cedillo, Dwight Yoakam

     
 

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Veteran screen star Tommy Lee Jones makes his directorial debut with the fractured tale of murder and injustice on the U.S.-Mexico border scripted by Amores Perros and 21 Grams screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. Mike Norton (Barry…  See more details below

Overview

Veteran screen star Tommy Lee Jones makes his directorial debut with the fractured tale of murder and injustice on the U.S.-Mexico border scripted by Amores Perros and 21 Grams screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga. Mike Norton (Barry Pepper) is a fresh-faced Border Patrol officer in Cibolo County, TX, whose dedication to his new job leaves his lonely wife, Lou Ann (January Jones), with little to do but spend her days at the local diner, where she strikes up a friendship with waitress Rachel (Melissa Leo). Despite her own status as a married woman, Rachel is unfulfilled in her marriage and is intimately involved with both rugged rancher Pete Perkins (Tommy Lee Jones) and local sheriff Belmont (Dwight Yoakam). Soon after Pete hires Mexican illegal Melquiades Estrada (Julio César Cedillo) as a ranch hand, the growing bond between the pair is suddenly shattered when, in a moment of panic on a routine patrol, Mike hastily guns down the innocent Melquaides. When an enraged Pete learns that Mike has unceremoniously buried the illegal immigrant in an unmarked desert grave and local authorities opt to overlook the case, he kidnaps the crooked lawman and sets out to ensure that justice is served with or without the involvement of the local police force.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
For his debut feature, Tommy Lee Jones follows in the footsteps of other fine actors who paid attention when they were directed -- Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, and Robert Duvall spring to mind. That is to say, he comes on the scene a confident, honed storyteller. This -- with the assistance of scripter Guillermo Arriaga -- enables a film like The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. In what could be the same border town John Sayles presents in Lone Star, Jones mines a subject that's both timely to the nation, and timeless to Texans: the unexpected byproducts of illegal immigration. But the director steers clear of a heavy-handed message movie, fixating on a single Mexican, a ranch hand named Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cedillo), who is accidentally shot by an overzealous border patrol agent (Barry Pepper). As Pete Perkins, Jones the performer is no human-rights crusader; he just cares about this particular man. In keeping a promise to his compadre -- even when it involves carrying his decaying corpse across the desert on horseback -- Jones radiates an unyielding determination, kidnapping Pepper's Mike Norton and teaching him a lesson with an almost disembodied sense of calm. But the film leaves all interpretation of the characters' growth and change up to the audience, never cheating them through a big speech or a moment of dramatic clarity. Every detail feels real, and the cinematography (by veteran Chris Menges and neophyte Hector Ortega) makes the barren Mexican countryside as formidable as any wilderness on film -- a dying frontier for men of justice. Arriaga's script also effectively carries out the parallel subplot of several stolid women resigned to disappointment back in town. While its deliberate pace may not move fast enough for some viewers, those who fall in stride with Estrada will find plenty of buried treasures.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/02/2010
UPC:
4715243560964
Original Release:
2005
Source:
Ais

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tommy Lee Jones Pete Perkins
Barry Pepper Mike Norton
Julio Cedillo Melquiades Estrada
Dwight Yoakam Sheriff Frank Belmont
January Jones Lou Ann Norton
Melissa Leo Rachel
Levon Helm Old Man With Radio
Melvin Rodriguez Captain Gomez
Cecilia Suarez Rosa
Ignacio Guadalupe Lucio
Vanessa Bauche Mariana
Irineo Alvarez Manuel
Guillermo Arriaga Juan
Josh Berry Border Patrolman
Rodger Boyce Salesman
Edwin 'Bubba' Broussard Bubba
René Campero Don Casimiro
Lupe Campos Sands Guy 2
Ariel Castro Jorge
Uriel Chavez Cowboy 2
Sonny Carl Davis Kruger
Montserrat De León El Toston Woman 2
Jesse De Luna Miller
Richard Dillard Jim
Jorge Ádrian Espíndola Cowboy 1
Jordan Henderson Mary, Soap Opera Girl
Sean Hennigan Chuck
Karen Jones Dog Lady
Richard Jones Bob
Victoria Jones Immigrant Girl
Raul Molinar Radio Announcer 1
Adrian Navarette Agustin
Lonnie Nelson Gravedigger
Juan Pareja Sands Guy 1
Terry Parks Neil
Gustavo Sánchez Parra Tomas
Hugo Perez Man
Paulina Reyes Piano Player
Sergio Rodriguez Radio Announcer 2
Charles Sanders Doctor
Brent Smiga Deputy Antonio
Spike Spencer John, Soap Opera
Angelina C. Torres Adriana
Barry Tubb A.L.
Guillermo Von Son Chino
Maya Zapata El Toston Woman 1
Pete Anthony Conductor

Technical Credits
Tommy Lee Jones Director,Producer
Guillermo Arriaga Screenwriter
Marco Beltrami Score Composer
Luc Besson Producer
Jo Edna Boldin Casting
Merideth Boswell Production Designer
Michael Fitzgerald Producer
Annette Fradera Musical Direction/Supervision
Philip Hardage Asst. Director
Joel Harlow Makeup Special Effects
Rob Hinderstein Makeup Special Effects
Kathy Kiatta Costumes/Costume Designer
Jeff Knipp Art Director
Jerome Lateur Musical Direction/Supervision
Duane Manwiller Camera Operator
Jeanne McCarthy Casting
Chris Menges Cinematographer
Héctor Ortega Cinematographer
Pierre-Ange Le Pogam Producer
Roberto Silvi Editor
Richard Snell Makeup
Manuel Teil Casting
Rene Villarreal Asst. Director
Mark Weingarten Sound Mixer

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The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great movie tells a realistic story of prejudice and justice. Tommy Lee Jones does a great acting job.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This quirky tale includes some great casting - Barry Pepper does a creditable job as the Border Patrol newbie who kills Mel. Tommy Lee Jones is fantastic, as is Melisaa Leo and, well, just everybody, including the locals playing parts of, well, locals. The special effects guys did a pretty fair job with graphic realism on the body of Melquiades and the journey and scenery are old west beautiful. Levon Helm is outstanding as a blind rancher. Dwight Yoakam tries to be serious but doesn't quite pull it off, although with his role, he must have been a tad self-conscious.This whole movie was a surprise and the ending, while predictable, left me wondering. Could lend itself to a sequel. I was especially impressed with the depiction of the Mexican people (but I don't need to get political here). If only I could have read the name on the bottle of mescal or tequila Pete drank in the cantina, I'd be set. A five tequila shot movie. On my permanent list of great, off-beat flicks.
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