The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada – film directed and starred in by Tommy Lee Jones

Yesterday was a pretty good day and part of that was due to the factoid that I watched this movie on a rented DVD for the second time and listened to TL Jones, actress January Jones and Dwight Yoakam on the commentary track. Actually I may have to buy my own copy. It is as TL says worth watching more than once. Somewhere about 15 times might be right.

I don’t expect to ever forget the character known in the credits as the old man with the radio, played by rock legend Levon Helm. I would like to think that someone, either Pete or Mike, survived and went back to help out that blind old man until he passed.

TL in the commentary talked about the shapes and colours of the shots and scenes that played out in the film. I can’t say that I was entirely conscious of that. I was conscious that visually something very good was running past my eyes. That each shot and scene seemed to have been made with great care, with great economy to serve the story, that I was watching a really, well made movie.

Of course, if you like operatic, scene-chewing acting, this film is probably not going to be your first choice, but you still should watch it. It is unlike any other movie made these days, and I mean that as the highest compliment.

A bonus for me was to watch Melissa Leo work. I have admired her acting since “Homicide – Life on the Street”, which had an unbelievable skilled ensemble cast, and of course the writers, directors and all the creative departments on that show were also pretty darn fine at what they did.

Yoakam was exceptional. January Jones was a study in how doing practically nothing can reveal a huge amount about a character. Barry Pepper is very, very strong in this film as well.

If you want to see him in another struggle with natural elements in a journey leading to great understanding, you should definitely watch The Snow Walker (2003). Charles Martin Smith directed the story based on a Farley Mowat story. Annabella Piugattuk, a young Inuit woman, plays the other main character. It is a perfect movie to see after TheThree Burials…

And of course, Mr. Tommy Lee Jones, is a master at what he does. I look forward to his next directorial effort with great anticipation. Where I live his film didn’t make it to the broad choiced local multiplex. I wish I could have seen it on a big screen. I also look forward to his next acting role.