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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NZIFF review: Bernie

Director: Richard Linklater

Jack Black has many crimes against cinema to atone to, Bernie goes some way to giving him time off for good behavior.

Bernie is the delicious true story of Bernie Tiede, a small town Texas personality who dives into local community life via his role as assistant undertaker. Blessed with a singing voice from heaven and level of charm with the old ducks that borders on the pathological, Bernie quickly becomes a pillar of the local county.

His standing as the nicest man around is so high that when he shoots one shrew of a benefactor (gloriously played by Shirley Maclaine), the locals refuse to blame Bernie much to the exasperation of the local prosecutor (a very funny Matthew McConaughey).

Bernie is a beautifully twee film with actual locals playing cameo roles explaining how they felt about Tiede. Their idiosyncratic unvarnished descriptions and banter gives the film an endearing quality that surprises.

3 and a half stars



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