The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Saw this last night and I was amazed.
This movie is a mixture of all that is good and evil in people. It feels totally original yet it is a mixture of many other things: Crash, Unforgiven, Magnolia, The Sopranos, and many others.
Hopefully you can tell from the list above that it is R rated for a reason. There is much grit in this film. It is disturbing and comforting. Sexual and chaste. Unforgettable and regrettable. Horrifying and edifying. It has so many interesting and original elements that it is truly difficult to sum up. Justice and Mercy. Death and Life. Purpose and aimlessness. Redemption and condemnation. Murder and healing. Freedom and bondage. Heaven and Hell.
I'm not kidding. It's all in there.
The plot has the same multi-layered, unfolding pace of The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile. It is truly a great story.
Yet it ends like most modern art films, about 10 minutes to soon. It has no answers, no truths, no final resolution, only a resolution. It could have been one of the greatest Westerns of all time, but that would require an eschatology of meaning and transcendent purpose. Instead the film settles for being great, with a post-modern ending in futility, revealing humanity.
The characters in this film are truly unforgettable. Barry Pepper was great in 25th Hour and Saving Private Ryan but he is amazing in this film. The whole cast is perfect.
If you live in the Denver area, tonight may be the last night that you can see this film on the big screen.
Go see it!
It may sound strange but this film is so intimate and detailed, that it really would lose power on a small screen.
My Rating: Big Screen