DVDs: Three Burials By Mr. Jones

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Sony; Movie ••••, Picture/Sound ••••, Extras •••) didn't win any major American awards, but for many who saw the directorial debut of actor Tommy Lee Jones, this beautiful yet unsentimental take on the modern Western was the film to beat in 2005. On DVD, it might not have worked at all, but this transfer virtually explodes with wonderfully rich images. The wide(screen) open spaces of the Texas/Mexico borderlands are key to the experience. Depth, detail, and especially color are strong enough to help a lazy Mexican sunset break your heart. And the multichannel mix, though dialogue-focused, is effective. The only extra is a soft-spoken commentary by Jones with actors Dwight Yoakam and January Jones. All three seem content to let the film wash over them in near silence. The laconic Tommy Lee reveals almost nothing of his art or craft - but then, work of this caliber speaks eloquently for itself.

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