Interview: Rock Solid
Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Politics: The Johnnie Code
Energy: Fission Fantasies
History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
International: Closer to Home
Economics: Taking the Fizz
Unions: Stronger Together
Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Poetry: Fair Go Gone
The Locker Room
When the Truth Hurts
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Jones plays Pete Perkins, foreman of a Texas ranch whose best friend, Melquiades Estrada (a Mexican 'wetback') is found dead in the middle of the desert.
Tensions of wealth disparity on the Mexican Texas border pull the characters in this film apart. Groups of Mexicans struggle to escape to the US for a better life, while the American border patrol, living in white trailer-trash homes, and salving their despairing lives with sexual infidelities, do what's necessary to stop them.
When Melquiades' body is found the racist local police and border patrol do nothing to find the murderer (for reasons of their own) and quickly bury him in a grave by the football ground outside of town. The wooden cross they leave marking the grave reads simply 'Melquiades Mexico'.
Pete Perkins learns of the cover up and who it was that killed his friend. Enraged he captures Melquiades' murderer and forces him to dig up the body. From here Pete, the killer and the body of Melquiades travel to the dead man's home in a Mexican village, in a journey full of mythical events worthy of Ulysses or Don Quixote. Among the gunshots and violence there is a snake, a blind man and prayers for redemption.
This is a serious film that gets so black at times it's funny. As the three make their way to the village in Mexico, Melquiades killer is put through a tortuous set of incidents that leave him banged up and bleeding - in fact he is close to death often. Through it all Pete Perkins keeps him alive and the audience giggles guiltily because it's okay to laugh at the misfortunes of a bad man.
The only drawback is the lack of depth in the female characters. As a plot device the wife of a boarder patrolman becomes a hooker for an afternoon in an episode that strains credulity. Otherwise, this is a fine film full of humour, mystery and some well-orchestrated violence with an excellent cameo from country and western singer Dwight Yoakam.
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