Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (and if not at least the Christmas season is nearly over!).
People who only know director Richard Linklater from his romantic Before Trillogy films may be surprised to learn that he is also the director of comedies such as Bad News Bears and School of Rock. Here Linklater reunites with the star of the latter film for dark comedy Bernie, release in America in 2011 but only just released this year in the UK.
Bernie (Jack Black), is the local mortician and the nicest, most generous guy in his beloved town of Carthage. But when he strikes up an unlikely friendship with the nasty and widely hated widow Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) it ends in murder!
An interesting story, even more so as it’s based on a real life incident. I’m not sure how the real people in this story feel about the film but for me it’s a good little movie. The direction by Linklater is solid, I like the narrative with the townsfolk of Carthege telling the story in a documentary style fashion, the film captures the sense of small-town gossip. Some of them are actors while others are playing themselves
The acting is great from all but especially by Black as the strangely likeable Bernie, and Matthew McConaughey as the district attorney trying to solve the murder at hand. However the film is more likely to generate gentle laughs than rib tickling humour. If anything I feel the film could be darker, and perhaps I was expecting something in the vein of Serial Mom, but unlike that film, Bernie is actually based on a true story therefore it can’t push the boundaries too far with the events that happened.
Rating 3/5-not the funniest film I’ve seen this year but features a great central performance from Jack Black