Tommy Lee Jones heads up this moving story of a man
driven to bury his murdered friend according to a promise made when
neither truly thought it would come to pass. A Border Patrol officer
Mike Norton, played by the great Barry Pepper, shoots and buries in a
shallow grave the body of illegal immigrant Melquiades Estrada. The body
is discovered and Estradas best friend Pete Perkins (Jones) finds out
who is behind the shooting and thus the story of how he takes both
Estradas body and Norton across the border into Mexico to do the right
thing by his friend.
Surprisingly this is not a revenge story although you
would think so by reading the back of the disc. Instead we delve into
the relationship between Perkins and Estrada and the level of friendship
they build up over the years and what Perkins is prepared to do to do
the right thing by his mate.
There is a sensitivity to the story that is touching
and the odd relationship between Perkins and Norton builds up toward the
end of the movie where Norton gradually appears to almost build up a
sympathy toward his captor that is realised at the very end of the flick
which I cannot give away without telling you too much about the movie.
The title is shot against stunning countryside that
becomes as much a part of the story as the characters itself. There are
moments where you would think that the land is so unforgiving that it
will kill the characters before the end of the movie and other times
where you would seriously consider living in the small Mexican towns
that they encounter along the way.
The movie is a little long however I can see the
reasons for doing so by actor/director Jones as he is trying to
establish stronger ties with the characters that he absolutely succeeds
in doing. This is his first effort behind the camera and I think he
totally succeeds in telling a compelling story. Despite the length you
will not get bored and the ending is satisfying however I would have
liked it to go a bit further to reveal plotlines that are left open.
Once again Iím avoiding spoiler city here.
If you like intelligent movies, this is one to check
out. Itís harsh and uncompromising, however worth the visit on the
journey that Jones takes us on.
This is presented on 2 discs here with a
load of extras however for me the highlight is the audio commentary.
Jones has such a commanding presence on screen and it was great to hear
what he thought of the whole movie making process. The quality of both
video and audio are fantastic with a wonderful score gently underlying
the entire process.