Making fun of toxic masculinity (movie review)

See no evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no evil…

A movie review of The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is the story of Mike Norton (Barry Pepper), a young man from Ohio to comes to Texas with his wife. He landed a job with border patrol, while his wife was told to just stay at their new trailer-home. (One line Mike says to his wife is, “Maybe I’ll get you a Nintendo”, which seems to imply that she’s VERY young.)

There are three scenes that define Mike’s character (and I will try to explain how they coincide with the actual plot of the movie.)

The first is the one in the above image; this is one of the most famous scenes of the movie. He approaches his wife, opens his pants and fucks her from behind for about 5 seconds (until he orgasms like a zombie.) He then takes a piece of broccoli and returns to his seat in front of the TV.

The second incident was the catalyst for the main title. While on patrol, Mike carries with him, his favorite magazine (it makes multiple appearances) but instead of masturbating in his vehicle he decides to sit out in the open. This results in him hearing a farmhand (title character Melquiades Estrada) shooting at a coyote.

Mike cannot see the actual shooter so he fires a few rounds in the direction of the sound. So, much like the previous 5-second sex scene, he ‘blows his load’, resulting in consequences.

He tries to bury Melquiades Estrada, but the body is exhumed for an autopsy, and re-buried at a public cemetery. But this angers Melquiades Estrada’s employer, Pete who kidnaps Mike and forces him to escort the dead body to Mexico.


The third scene is after days of capture. Mike manages to run from Pete, only to get bitten by a snake. The Mexican locals are more than willing to help Pete (since he’s traveling to Mexico to give a proper burial to a friend.) So even though the local doctor recognized Mike as the border agent who once punched her in the face (she still has a bandage) she agrees to treat his leg so that he can continue being Pete’s prisoner.

After the doctor cuts/drain the poison out of his leg he passes out from the pain. When he awakens the first thing he checks for is his cock.


The female doctor comes in. Upon seeing that Mike will survive his injury, she dumps a pot of coffee on his crotch, before hitting him in the face.

Only then does she declare “Now, we’re even.”

I could not stop thinking about this movie. IMDB users gave it generally really good or really bad reviews. I, personally, find the tongue-in-cheek idea of someone being stripped of their masculinity intriguing. Maybe that’s just the BDSM erotica in me…

In summary, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) is worth checking out as a rental (on the iTunes store) and Barry Pepper is one of the greatest character actors of our time.



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