The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is an interesting revenge flick from 2005 set in Texas along the Texas-Mexico border.
10 out of 10 stars. Very watchable.
The film begins when a couple of old white guys ride into the desert in a Jeep looking for something to shoot. They eventually see a coyote eating carrion, so they shoot it. When they get closer to collect the coyote, they realize the coyote had dug up a dead body and was eating it. The coroner examines the body and determines it is an illegal Mexican immigrant shot by an AR15 with .223 bullets which is used by Border Patrol agents. The question is, why’d they bury the body?
Flashback to months previously. Mike and LouAnn Norton move from Cincinnati to Texas because he has a new job as a Border Patrol agent. On his first day he beats up the Mexican immigrants he’s supposed to detain including women and children. He punches them so hard, he breaks a woman’s nose. :0 Apparently Mike was the high school quarterback and LouAnn was the homecoming queen, but other than that they have no college education and no skills. Almost immediately LouAnn gets bored while Mike is at work and ends up at the local diner a block away. There she meets Rachel. Rachel is married to the diner’s owner and cook, but she also has a lover on the side named Pete. When LouAnn expresses an interest in also having an affair, Rachel brings her along. While Rachel is having sex with Pete, LouAnn has sex with his best friend Mel who is a very kind and gentle soul, the exact opposite of LouAnn’s violent and abusive husband Mike.
A few weeks into the job, Mike goes into the desert with a porn magazine to masturbate. He hears shooting, so picks up his rifle and fires aimlessly. He kills a Mexican who was trying to protect his goats from a coyote. Rather than reporting the incident, he buries the man’s body. Then he tells his boss the man fired at him, so he fired back. His boss tells him not to mention it again. Then his boss goes to tell the Sheriff while the Sheriff is eating at the diner. The Sheriff is one of Rachel’s other lovers. She overhears this and tells Pete because the dead Mexican is Mel.
Back in the current timeline, Pete Perkins, a local ranch hand, comes to pick up Mel’s body. They were best friends and worked on the same ranch. But because Mel was an illegal, they cannot release the body to Pete and bury Mel a second time (the first burial was in the desert by his killer). The Sheriff decides not to investigate and the case is closed. Pete is enraged. The evening after the city buries Mel, Pete kidnaps Mike and they dig up Mel. Then they begin a very long horseback ride into Mexico to bury Mel in his hometown.
Along the way, Mike is bit by a rattlesnake and saved by the woman whose nose he broke. And Pete discovers that Mel had bragged about a woman and children that didn’t exist. He was all alone like Pete with no family and no kids. Unable to find Mel’s hometown after days in the desert of Mexico and questioning several locals, they bury Mel in the location on the map where Mel said his home was then Pete lets Mike ride away on a horse.
Meanwhile, LouAnn packs up her things and returns to Cincinnati.
10 out of 10 stars. A lot happens to Mike along this journey and a lot happens to Pete. But I liked the way it ended. You can imagine what happens to Pete and Mike and that’s enough.