FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: “Bernie” stars Jack Black (Tropic Thunder, The Cable Guy), Shirley MacLaine (The Apartment, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), and Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Interstellar). It is directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood, School of Rock). Based on a true story, this movie revolves around a man named Bernie Tiede (Black), who is loved by everyone in the town of Carthage, Texas ever since he arrived there. He is an undertaker and takes pride in his job, while also helping the townspeople by getting involved in town activities as well as the church of Carthage, where he sings. One day, a rich woman named Marjorie Nugent’s (MacLaine) husband dies, leaving her alone. She is hated by everyone…except Bernie. He tries to reach out to her after the funeral and she soon takes a liking to him. That liking begins to consume Bernie, with her being jealous of the time he spends with others and eventually treating him like her property because of how she doesn’t want to be alone. Soon Bernie can’t take it anymore, driving him to an action that will haunt him the rest of his life.
“Bernie” has a filming style that I have never really seen before in a feature film. The movie is mainly composed of a bunch of interviews of random townspeople (who I believe may not be actors) and some actors that are told to act like townspeople, talking about Bernie’s story based on questions that come up on the screen. The other parts left over are usual scenes found in movies with written dialogue and actions. This works sometimes, but when it comes to the entirety of it, I wish it was just written like usual movies. The interviews provide insight on Bernie’s life in the town from people’s perspective, but overall it is just a distraction. The story is entertaining, and does provide a fresh plot to it. It has a dark comedy feel, but I really didn’t laugh at it except for very few parts. Some scenes feel weird and are portrayed in not the best way, like when Bernie does the worst thing he can do (the turning point of the movie). The reason for him doing it and the action of it just looks odd. The acting was great for the people who were “actors” in it. Jack Black has a fantastic performance and I appreciate the realism that he gives the character. It’s also fun to watch him sing and dance. Shirley MacLaine also did a good job and played a spiteful woman really well. It took forever for Matthew McConaughey to get on-screen, only coming in from the middle towards the ending. He pulled off his character though. Other than what I stated before about the interviews and weird scenes, this move doesn’t really have anymore cons. The interviews take up a huge part and tend to get boring and drag. They can also get annoying, with me only wanting to see Bernie in action in his story instead of people talking about it and giving their opinion. I’ll admit, some are important to the plot, but as a whole, they could’ve done it different. Overall, this movie is interesting and will hold your attention throughout, getting better the further you get into the film, but in the end, its feel and flow makes you feel like you are watching a special on a television network. FINAL SCORE: 70%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: