Tuesday, June 5, 2012


From the moment Bernie Tiede took a job as an assistant funeral director in Carthage, Texas, he became the most liked man in town. Intensely likable, a consummate professional at his job, and generous with his money and time. Especially when it came to the old widows of the men he buried. When a local tycoon dies, Bernie befriends his icy wife and soon becomes her travelling companion and soon her insecurities and wickedness lead him to commit a crime unthinkable by himself and his beloved townspeople. "Bernie" is a true-to-life story to in black comedy fashion from dexterous director Richard Linklater and features a meaty lead role for Jack Black, one that allows him to show off his considerable talents, and the likes of which that hasn't been made readily available during his acting career. Shirley MacLaine turns in a good performance as well as the steely bitch who soon dominates Black's life and Matthew McConaughey is humorous also as a showboating district attorney. Linklater also peppers the film with commentary from what I believe are locals who are familiar with the case, and it is in these moments that the film finds its greatest moments of humor and insight. Richard Linklater is one our most versatile and underrated directors, two adjectives that may go hand in hand. With "Bernie", he has found levity and  affecting insight in a case that would have been depicted on the news strictly as a tragedy.