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|Index||138 reviews in total|
An amazing movie. One off movie we come across. Curiously directed with lots of direct - interview type story telling. I saw it in Singapore and fell in love with the way the story was cinematographers. I liked it immensely. Mr.Black's acting reveals the character of Bernie splendidly. The town folk to have done a great job. Carthage has now joined the annals of great cinema places. Kudos to Mr.Linklater. I would not hesitate to get a DVD when released. The humor is soft and direct to laugh. It is easy to despise the action of district attorney. But one has to understand that it was his job to bring to justice, those responsible for crime.
I first became aware of this film at the Dallas International Film Festival, but did not have the opportunity to see it. I didn't realize going into the theater that this was a true story and after viewing the film it remains a truly unbelievable story. The story centers on an assistant funeral director in the small rural town of Carthage, Texas. The events take place in 1996 and I tried to recall if I remembered anything in the news about it, but I don't. Director Richard Linklater came back to his home state and discovered a gem of a story, just waiting to be told. Once the film begins you find yourself really liking Bernie Tiede (Jack Black). He is very charismatic, charming and just an all around good guy. Even from the start you want to root for him, even when things start to unravel. I have to say that I think that this is one of Jack's standout performances. Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) was a typical district attorney although somewhat toned down since there is not much that goes on in a small town. This role was a perfect casting for Matthew since he possesses that charming southern accent. There is something very appealing about Matthew and courtrooms (A Time to Kill, The Lincoln Lawyer). Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) was feisty and direct. She kind of reminds me of Weezer in Steel Magnolias. Shirley also gave a standout performance because as soon as she hit the screen, you knew that you were not going to like her. The relationship that builds between Bernie and Marjorie is unconventional and somewhat strange, which I guess is what makes this story so crazy. The various town people who narrate the film only adds to the funny moments in the film and really gives the film the sense that it is an actual true story. This docu-dramady was highly entertaining and you never really knew where the story was going. This film is both complex and intriguing. Although this is not a monumental film, it was very charming and definitely kept your attention. I did not expect the film to be as good as it was, so if you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it. In this case, facts are stranger than fiction and you will leave the theater thinking "did that really happen?". I am giving this film a glaring green light.
Richard Linklater reunites with his School of Rock star Jack Black, and
provided the latter with what would probably be his best film role to
date, without the need to go over the top in comedy, but having to rely
on his dramatic acting, and great singing voice. Yes you read that
right. Jack Black isn't always the comedian on film, and has a couple
of more serious roles under his belt which usually are quite
understated. Then there's his singing voice, put to good use here
singing soulful renditions of hymns given the nature of the job role of
his titular character.
What would transpire in the film would be larger than life instead, but in truth it's based on a real incident, about the circumstances behind a cold blooded murder that would be seen almost like a bade joke. No offence meant to the victim's relatives of course, as Bernie takes on what would be a docu-drama style, interviewing real people on their memory about the incident and their feelings toward Bernie Tiede, where in a small town community of Carthage, Texas, everyone presumably knows everyone else in consummate terms, truth, rumour or both.
Interspersed with these engaging talking head moments and interviews, are the fictional re- enactments of these scenes, or played out with drama or comedy just to make the presentation fresh despite having a documentary-like feel. And you have to salute Linklater's ability to extract plenty of honest emotions especially when talking about people the interviewees dislike, and to do so on camera. I would have rooted for more because these moments in the film made it what it is, and is akin to neighbourhood gossipy moments where one listens in to hear the latest on what goes on, only that we cannot add our two cents worth since it's not interactive.
Jack Black's Bernie is a character with good intentions. Trained as a mortician, and then becoming assistant funeral director, we learn a lot about his background given the focus on his early days in the profession. Linklater went for the morbid jugular with having Bernie dress up a corpse as an introduction to what he does, through an instructional session given to students, providing plenty of insights on the process that I didn't know about. He's good natured, from what we see and hear, until something within him snapped when he got a wee bit too friendly with town grouch Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) who coincidentally is one of the richest widows around.
The film doesn't go all out to paint Bernie as a gold digger, but I suppose he lived long enough to see himself become the villain, especially so when Marjorie's reach becomes all encompassing and stifling, monitoring every move Bernie makes, coupled with unreasonable demands that makes PMS handling look like a walk in the park. Shirley MacLaine plays this role to perfection, so much so that you'll grow to hate her, and maybe it's Linklater's intent to make the viewer sympathize and throw in support at Bernie's corner. MacLaine nails the irritating nature of the character, complete with passive-aggressive behaviour that makes claws on chalkboard more tolerable, and to watch her acting cute, just sends shivers.
While Matthew McConaugney probably overdid his Southern Drawl as the district attorney keen to nail Bernie and get to the truth, his hamming it up served as one of the highlights of the film, as do the real talking heads interviews conducted to give us all a little bit of a reality check of a very skewed modern day Robin Hood of sorts. Recommended for its unique perspective and presentation.
Jack Black inhabits the character of Bernie Thiede, a fastidious, slightly epicene, extremely civic minded assistant mortuary director, who becomes enmeshed in the extremely demanding clutches of the wealthiest widow of Carthage, Texas. All of the performances in this film are spot on brilliant, but most especially those of the chorus of Carthage's upstanding citizenry, who are all anxious that Bernie receive justice, tempered strongly with mercy. This film marks the first time I've enjoyed seeing Matthew McConaughey on screen since DAZED AND CONFUSED; perhaps he should work with Richard Linklater more often.
I know I'm not supposed to like a flick like this because it's got all
the wrong things; interviews, way too much exposition, an operatic
style (simple story, drawn out to feature-length), ...and so much more.
But it's such an obvious labor of love. And... What a story! It's very simple, and the moral is a direct one: Every last mother-loving one of us has within us the potential to act out that which Bernie did.
Of course, there's a lot that the movie does very, very well. The most important thing, of course, is how the setup for the critical moment is cleverly designed and paced to drive home the all-important moral.
Everything beyond that is icing on a strange and wonderful cake. The flick is witty and rollicking and fun. It showcases the southern, "hick" language, style, and mentality, while simultaneously humbling us by reminding us of what can be easily forgotten; that deep humanity is the heritage of all God's human creations, regardless of culture and background.
I was recently reading about the film composer Nino Rota, and recalled the words of Fellini, when asked about him: "He's an angel of music". Well, Black's performance was nothing short of angelic, and I suspect that Linklater felt toward Black as Fellini did, working with Rota. This was a perfect vehicle for Black, showcasing his dancing/musical abilities, his comedic character chops and, amazingly, his ability to convincingly range into the serious drama of a deeply feeling man's moral crisis.
It was great to see MacLaine here. After the shameful misuse of her in the execrable "Mitty", her fine performance in Bernie redeems her nicely.
In short, a superb piece of aim-straight-for-the-heart filmic storytelling, and highly recommended.
I almost never do this, but while I would normally rate this a '9' (meaning, "perfect, with minor remonstrances"), I'm marking it '10', in part to try to do my part to yank it up from the sub-'7' doldrums.
All participants in this production should be very proud of their fine work.
Richard Linklater is one of cinema's most important and influential
filmmakers there is today and this film, Bernie really shows those
traits. He really know how to make films based off small towns and
their characters. The story that he tackles here is a really unique and
strange premise, and that works in the movie's favor. The film is
charming, if not somewhat eccentric. The movie has gotten me interested
in the real-life situation, so it may be time to hit the research
Linklater's film is about a man named Bernie Tiede who happens to be this well-loved man that is highly involved with the community. He is even able to befriend an elderly woman named Marjorie Nugent, who is despised in the town of Carthage, Texas. But one day, something clicks in Bernie and he kills Marjorie. The townspeople are shocked after hearing about Bernie being arrested.
Jack Black gives his best performance in years. He was magnificent as Bernie and although he gave up a creepy vibe at times, he truly flourished as Bernie. He did a good job in turning into a man who doesn't seem to realize the grave consequences of his actions. Shirley MacLaine does a great job as the elderly Marjorie, and did I ever hate her character! Matthew McConaughey does a good job as the prosecutor who is coming under fire for convicting Bernie.
Overall, Bernie is a wacky crime film, but it's entertaining. It's also funny, but not in the riotous kind of way. More of an amusing chuckle kind of way.....which is a great thing. I liked the style of the film and how it was filmed mockumentary-style. The real townspeople being interviewed was a good heads up on Linklater's part. Another reason why he is such a magnificent filmmaker. A very good, unique film. I rate this film 9/10.
Churchgoer: "Ms. Nugent is in a deep freezer headed for Dallas!"
The story is about Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands.
2011 was the year for Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and the director Richard Linklater, because this movie was beautifully directed and acted.
Bernie is a entertaining dark comedy with a sweet side to it. The main character of this movie (Bernie) well he has be the most interesting and most likable person of the face of earth, even the fact that he killed a mean and despicable old women, I still cared for him and I got to give respect to the writers and the director to care about a killer.
Matthew McConaughey had the biggest come back in 2011 with The Lincoln Lawyer, Killer Joe and now this movie which he was brilliant in. McConaughey always has that charm and know it all in every role in see him in today, and that what makes him a brilliant actor.
Jack Black gives a heartbreaking and spellbinding performance as the sweet killer. It's good to see Jack Black doing roles were he can poof that he is a great actor and in this movie he shines and gives it his all.
The movie does have it's slow parts and some of the short interviews of the town people can be a little bit uninteresting. But overall Bernie is a terrific and fantastic movie with brilliant writing and directing.
Funny and tragic at the same order, "Bernie" is an unusual true story
crime with charm to spare. Richard Linklater who directed and wrote the
story, providing a masterful piece of work and smartly matched crime
tragedy with dark comedy in a right path. The movie mostly managed by
documentary filming based on opinion from citizens at small town Texas
who apparently knows Bernie-Marjorie Nugent in person that would
convince us of how their behavior was and showing their unbelievable
reaction after the murder case. It's somehow revealed that Bernie and
Marjorie Nugent is a friend with benefit which has opposite
What the film was trying to prove that there's no perfect person even for Bernie who is believed as sweet and caring guy. Though it feels more like one-sided that would drag audience's sympathy to Bernie character rather than provoke them by the mistake he had done, it seems still tolerable considering the movie built on society's perspective on that case. Afterall "Bernie" isn't a movie that would make you wanna watch it couple times or even more but it's undeniably an above average crime movie which is carried by it's two satisfying central performances from Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Black has been known over the past few year for roles in comedies
such as Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Nacho Libre and School of Rock.
There is a recent dramatic comedy in which Black shines brighter than
Bernie is the story of a Texan mortician who offers his friendship to a grieving widow (Shirley MacLaine). Other townspeople see Marjorie Nugent as a cold-hearted woman, but Bernie tries to look past the harsh exterior and find the kindness in the widow. Over the months they form a bond which quickly turns sour as Bernie realizes that some people are always bitter about something. That is when he sees the shot gun out of the corner of his eye.
Based on the true story of Bernie Tiede, director Richard Linklater uses a mixture of interviews with townspeople and dramatized reenactments of what took place in the town of Carthage between the mortician and the widow.
There is comedy in the script, but it is not the typical humor one would associate with Jack Black. The subtle laughs are plenty, but only for those comfortable with the dark situational humor throughout the entire film. A well written script offers honesty, heart and laughs all the way through. The pacing is done well with each character receiving just the correct amount of time to connect to the audience.
The cinematography is standard, and the music, some of which is provided by Jack Black as Bernie Tiede, fits with the movie however it is not overly memorable. The acting is the shining point in the film. Jack Black gives the best performance of his career as Tiede. The audience is drawn to the character from the very instant Black steps on screen until the time the credits roll. Shirley MacLaine is good as Nugent as well. A feeling of nausea sweeps over the viewer when she verbally abuses those around her. Even Matthew McConaughey gives a good performance as Danny Buck, the man who finds the body and fights to get Tiede behind bars.
The movie is quirky and honest. Those looking for a gut-busting comedy should skip over this film, but for those interested in a story filled with subtlety it is a definite win.
I happily recommend it. It'll stay with you for a while.
An entertaining docu-dramedy, weirdly peppered with belly laughs, it has the signature style I expect from Richard (Waking Life) Linklater. The fictionalized reenactment segments are broken up by clips of interviews with real citizens of Carthage, TX. They are arguably the best part of the movie, and without a doubt the funniest.
My favorite things about this film are 1) that it reminded me just what a talent Jack Black is you should see this movie if for no other reason than to hear Black sing gospel, even if you don't like gospel and 2) that Linklater's expert treatment of the peer interviews made me realize: I was always laughing *with* the people of Carthage; never *at* them.
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