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Pete Perkins is a ranch foreman who employs and eventually befriends a Mexican vaquero named Melquiades Estrada. Their close camaraderie ends when Mike Norton, a psychotic Border Patrolman, mistakenly shoots and kills Melquiades while in the field. After hastily burying his victim, Norton and his superiors cover up this crime with the complicity of Sheriff Belmont, a sexually challenged lawman.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Roger EbertFull Review Excellent It begins with a bedrock of loyalty and honor between men, and mixes it with a little madness. In an era when hundreds of lives are casually destroyed in action movies, here is an entire film in which one life is honored, and one death is avenged.
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OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
Based on a theater exit polling of 24 moviegoers:Sorry, we weren't able to collect very many opinions for this limited release movie. Critic's loved this movie, but moviegoer opinions are mediocre at best. Being a western I would have expected higher opinions from the males. Only about a third truly enjoyed this movie. The remaining opinions indicated an average/OK movie, which is a little on the low side. The female opinions are actually quite a bit better. Over half truly enjoyed it. Of the remaining half most enjoyed it somewhat, but there were several who hated it. My recommendation? If your taste in movies tends to run close to that of critics then this movie is probably a safe bet. Everyone else should proceed with caution.
A man is shot and quickly buried in the high desert of West
Texas. The body is found and reburied in Van Horn's town
cemetery. Pete Perkins, a local ranch foreman (TOMMY LEE
JONES) kidnaps a Border Patrolman and forces him to
disinter the body. With his captive in tow and the body
tied to a mule Pete undertakes a dangerous and quixotic
journey into Mexico.
Guillermo Arriaga's dramatic and poetic script weaves past
and present as it gradually reveals a great friendship, the
lonely subterfuge of an illegal migrant's life, the cost of
a promise made and kept, and culminates in the redemption
of a callous if accidental killer.