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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA (2005)

Tex-Mex border drama wears its heart on its sleeve (and in all the politically correct places), but to little avail in this stunningly shot (lenser Chris Menges) vanity production from star/helmer Tommy Lee Jones. When an over-zealous newbie border patrol agent (Barry Pepper) needlessly guns down an illegal immigrant ranch hand (Julio Cesar Cedillo), only the victim’s best-bud (Tommy Lee) cares enough to try and get some justice done. Jones disjoints the timeline in the first act to help build some mystery & suspense, but he's already given the game away by having the border agent speedily bang his wife on the kitchen counter as she mindlessly watches tv whereas our gentlemanly immigrant shyly dances before grinding away when given a similar opportunity. Guess there weren’t any puppies around for the bad gringo to kick. Subtle it ain't, yet it tends to stick with you.

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