The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
Hell exists on Earth and Tommy Lee Jones evokes it perfectly in his first feature film, as his characters traverse a vast, scorching stretch of southern Texan wasteland with only enough water and shoes for one of them. The film is at times funny and quirky, but this epic journey into a desert inferno takes it to a whole different level, where a man careless towards others learns how careless the universe can be towards him. Depending on your outlook, that lesson might inspire you to laughs or to tears (or both), but either way the film can be deeply moving. It's a statement of personal values – namely, that a life has meaning when you give it one – by Jones, a star who has always exuded integrity and now invests his film with it. His unpredictable tale gives us funny characters, a harrowing journey over the Mexican border, and a hell of a lot to think about.