The journey to Mexico begins when Pete Perkins (Jones) uncovers the identity of a Border Patrolman, Mike Norton (Barry Pepper), who has shot and killed his best friend, Melquiades Estrada (Julio Cedillo). Kidnapping Norton and forcing him to dig up Estrada's body, Perkins straps the corpse to a horse, and informs Norton that he will be traveling with them to Mexico. Once there, they will bury Estrada according to instructions he gave Perkins prior to his death.
Directed by Tommy Lee Jones this film was nothing short of what you would expect from the soon to be legendary actor. Known for his roles as a rugged, honest, Texan Tommy Lee puts in all that he loves about who he is into this role and it shows. Barry Pepper for the second time this month does an amazing job in a role I didn't expect. Hollow to the world outside oh him, neglecting his wife, and taking out his aggression in the form of masturbation and violence towards the immigrants he catches at the borders edge.
I had no clue what to expect from this movie. I assumed and thought it was a western. Well...it was a western but I expected it to be an old timey western. In the opening shot you see an super long pan of the desert. It ends on a jeep cruising toward the camera. It really through me off my game and was trying to figure out what was happening. Was this some sort of flash forward?
What Tommy Lee Jones has created is a modern day western. A western that takes seemingly simple people and shows you their three dimensions. A western that takes you on journey that is only done better in Lonesome Dove. Which brings me to my next point.
Lonesome Dove is probably the best western ever made...in my opinion of course. It is obvious that Jones was pulling a lot for 3 Burials considering the last 2/3 of "Dove" is him carry Robert Duvalls body back to Texas against all odds to keep a promise. This is exactly what this movie is with a little Pepper added(no pun intended).
I really enjoyed this film. My two favorite scenes were when the Sheriff is about to snipe Jones but can't. He lays awkwardly back on the rocks as his phone ridiculously rings in stereotypical cell phone fashion. All these events contrasting against what you thought you knew about this character and the backdrop of killing Tommy is perfect and the phone conversation weirdly moving.
I also love the scene with Tommy in this Mexican bar. The TV playing a soap opera, the little kid playing the out of tune piano, looking out into the desert with no reason to smile Tommy Lee takes a shot of Tequila and smirks to himself. The phone rings and its for him. Drunk as a skunk he staggers to the receiver and tells the whore of his life that he is in love with her. She rejects him and he staggers to the shed behind the bar where he sleeps with his dead friend. There are many more little scenes that I absolutely loved that made this movie on whole something worth seeing. This is a lonely man's tale and if you ever felt a little like a cowboy then you will love this film.