Sunday, May 20, 2012


Movie Name: Bernie
Year of Release: 2011
Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, Brandon Smith, Rick Dial, Richard Robichaux, Larry Jack Dotson, Brady Coleman
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Crime
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Richard Linklater's career as a director came to prominence in the early 90s with two films that since acquired a cult status: "Slacker" and "Dazed and Confused". Since then he has directed quite a few films, with different levels of success, but his point of view has always been one very distinguished and interesting. With "Bernie" he tackles the story of Bernie Tiede, a funeral director in a small town named Carthage in Texas. Bernie is introduced as a very socially active person, very well liked by everyone in the small town, and always interested in helping the people in the community. When a rich and disliked lady in town becomes a widow, Bernie starts spending more and more time with her, until she becomes utterly demanding of his time. In a spurt of a moment, Bernie kills Marjorie, and hides her body. When the reveal occurs, shock and surprise occur throughout the town's inhabitants.
Richard Linklater successfully captures the mood and the tone of a small town in Texas. His film is built very much like a documentary, that captures the impressions of real inhabitants of the small town, but also showcases how Bernie was seen and perceived by everyone else. The film is filled with great humor, and most of it rests on the fantastic performance of Jack Black, who captures the character of Bernie Tiede perfectly. He humanizes the character, without making it a cliche or a stereotype. Matthew McConaughey also surprises as Danny Buck, whereas Shirley MacLaine has little to do as Marjorie Nugent. This is a great film where all the parts are so nicely put together, from the overall tone, to the performances, including also the cinematography of Dick Pope. Worth watching.