The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones, is a story of redemption, which itself was redeemed by the end. Which is to say most of it is not terribly robust. A mild recommendation, with all the normal caveats in place. 6/10
Availability: iTunes rental
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A Note on Home Viewing
I think that this movie would have had a greater impact on me had I seen it in the theater, perhaps even enough for a higher rating, which brings up a point I wanted to make about seeing movies in the theater versus at home. Certain critics out there have a rating system which goes something like “Very Good, see in the theater”; “Good, but not great — wait and see it at home”, and “Don’t bother.” A nice, simple, direct rating scale. But a film will have more impact in the theater than at home. Even under the most ideal circumstances, there will likely be an interruption or two while watching at home — something that doesn’t happen in the theater. In this case, I admit there were several interruptions, which served to weaken the impression Three Burials made on me. So if anything, it should be “Good, but not great — make sure to see in theater because if you don’t there’s no point in bothering later.” The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada — and many, many other borderline films fall in this category.
Point being, to say “This movie is good, but not good enough to see in the theater” is contrary to logic in my experience. I understand this is said as a recommendation for someone not to spend as much money to watch a film of lesser quality, but in light of the quantity and higher-than-ever quality of original TV programming and selections available via VOD, this type of recommendation doesn’t hold water. A movie that isn’t worth seeing in the theater isn’t worth seeing period.