July 13, 2006

Tommy Lee Jones:  Native at heart?

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, has what I'd call Native values. In this 2005 film, Jones forces the man who killed Melquiades to return his body to Mexico and bury it. By the end of the movie, the man has learned to think about someone other than himself.

That's similar to how many indigenous tribes handle killings. They compel the wrongdoers to make amends for their crimes, to atone for them. They don't demand punishment or retribution the way Euro-American cultures do.

Other Native values expressed in the movie:
  • Artificial boundaries don't matter.
  • It's better to save life than to get revenge.
  • Death deserves dignity and a proper ceremony.
Rob's rating: 8.5 of 10. That puts it right up there with movie-of-the-year contenders Crash and Brokeback Mountain.

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