Friday, January 4, 2013


Jack Black is Bernie
***1/2 out of ****

Richard Linklater's new film, Bernie, is a hilarious bittersweet story based on a very strange but true murder case. Jack Black in one of his best performances, plays Bernie Tiede, a flamboyant mortician in a small Texas town destined to befriend a wealthy old woman, become her curious companion, and eventually murder her. The old woman was Margorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), who known throughout the town as a mean old witch which greatly contrasted Bernie's kindness and popularity. By the time he confessed to killing her. The people of the town either refused to believe it, our said that she must have had it coming.

Linklater's creative streak is evident in his utilization of real people from the town who knew Bernie. They are prominently featured throughout the film in semi-staged interviews. As wonderful as Jack Black is in this film, these people inspire the biggest laughs. They offer great lines no screenwriter could imagine.

The movie has a funny and bright spirit in spite of it's morbid subject matter. It's goal is to get you involved in Bernie's joy of life and the world of his small town popularity. Gospel music is prominent throughout. A lot of the humor is aimed at the naivety of the Christian community who seem oblivious to the likelihood of his homosexuality.

Matthew McConaughey plays the local District Attorney, determined to put Bernie in jail and struggles with a town that is way too forgiving. His performance is good but it almost belongs in a Cohen brothers film -not that this movie is too far from their territory.

Bernie is another entry in Linklater's versatile directorial career. He's gone a variety of places since he hit it big with Dazed and Confused in 1993 and he continues to make memorable films like this one.

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