Saturday, January 07, 2006


Fiction films live!

By Edward Copeland
Last week, I was questioning whether either by the product being produced or my lifetime of excessive moviegoing, fiction films were dead, since documentaries were captivating me much more often the fiction features, which all, even when good, seemed like things I'd seen before.

Nothing like saying something out loud to break a curse. I've watched The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada today and it's the first fiction film I'd give a perfect score to since 2003.

I knew Tommy Lee Jones could be a great actor when he toned down his hamminess, but who knew he could direct with such flair while realizing such an original script by Guillermo Arriaga?

Three Burials starts slowly, but then it draws you in like a great novel that you can't put down and you're never quite sure where it is going, which is such a relief in this age of formula.

There are many stunning images, which I won't spoil here for those who haven't seen the film, and the writing is crisp and often funny in its portrait of friendship, obsession and life in a small rural town. It also boasts great cinematography by Chris Menges and a memorable score by Marco Beltrami.

Jones is also surrounded by a strong supporting cast, headed by Melissa Leo, Barry Pepper and two musicians turning in solid performances — Dwight Yoakam and The Band's great Levon Helm.

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amazing film. can't wait to see it again. my #3 film this year just after Crash & Brokeback MOuntain
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