Bernie

"Excellent"

Bernie Review


Richard Linklater mixes comedy, drama and documentary to tell a frankly outrageous true story, and in the process he also gives Jack Black one of his best-yet roles. Even though his character is camp and colourful, Black beautifully underplays him, channelling his normally excessive style of acting into something utterly endearing. And while the story is packed with tragedy, Linklater still manages to keep us laughing.

Black plays Bernie, a well-loved member of the community in small-town Carthage, Texas. Bernie is the local mortician, and he has a reputation for caring for the families of the deceased. Mainly the widows. Then his life takes a strange turn when he meets Marjorie (MacLaine), a cranky widow who's estranged from her family and has more money than she can spend. Now in addition to running the town theatre club and managing a local art show, Bernie is managing Marjorie's finances and traveling with her around the world. Then she rewrites her will to leave everything to him, and events take a startling turn.

The film is narrated through documentary-style interviews with the town's brutally honest residents, and only some of them are played by actors. They talk about Bernie's place in the town, and how opinion shifted when he was accused of Marjorie's murder. Knowing that Bernie was a real man, and that these events really happened, adds a spark of energy to the film that actually augments the blackly comical tone. And opposite Black, MacLaine delivers one of her strongest, snappiest turns. McConaughey is also great fun as the blustering prosecutor who's shocked that anyone in town still loves Bernie. But they all do.

Every element of the plot is laced with irony, as Linklater weaves in some strong commentary about small-town community values and the nature of true justice in rural America. The story may lend itself to being told as an intensely serious mystery-thriller, but Linklater finds comical currents everywhere from Bernie's camp, effete demeanour to the blunt opinions of real people. His direction is packed with witty visual gags and subtly amusing touches that never boil over into slapstick. And most remarkable is how Linklater and Black make Bernie into such a likeable guy that we perhaps wouldn't mind if he got away with murder.

Rich Cline



Bernie

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd June 2012

Box Office USA: $9.2M

Distributed by: Millenium Entertainment

Production compaines: Mandalay Vision, Wind Dancer Productions, Detour Filmproduction, Castle Rock Entertainment, Horsethief Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 133 Rotten: 14

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: , Ginger Sledge

Starring: as Bernie Tiede, as Marjorie Nugent, as Danny Buck Davidson, Tommy G. Kendrick as Larry Brumley, Gary Teague as Neighborhood Onlooker, Rick Dial as Don Leggett, Mona Lee Fultz as Cashier, as Scrappy Holmes, as Jerry, Grant James as Mr. Estes, Veronica Orosco as Church Patron, Christian Stokes as Truck Driver

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.