Bernie: Oddball comedy drama is trying something different that"s not quite working

Oddball comedy drama Bernie is trying something different that's not quite working

By
Chris Tookey

PUBLISHED:

00:42 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:25 GMT, 26 April 2013

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Bernie (12A)

Verdict: Oddball comedy-drama

U.S. writer-director Richard Linklater has made a weird little biopic about a real-life, small-town mortician and murderer, well loved in his local community of Carthage, Texas.

The role is embraced by Jack Black, who is on good, if muted, form. He makes Bernie a well-intentioned, churchgoing innocent, cruelly exploited by the affluent widow (Shirley MacLaine) he was eventually accused of slaughtering.

The reason this is a curious film is that it’s interspersed by mockumentary footage of locals (played by actors but often quoting real witnesses) enthusing about Bernie. Little sympathy is extended towards his victim.

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Jack Black doesn't quite make it all the way as Bernie

Jack Black doesn't quite make it all the way as Bernie

One resident even comes out with the justification: ‘It’s not as bad as people say — he only shot her four times, not five.’

The story is too one-paced and monotonous to capture a big audience, and falls midway between comedy and drama, but Black gives his most nuanced performance in years.

I didn’t find it very entertaining, but it is at least trying something different.

User: Jack Black's Bernie takes advantage of lonely Shirley MacLaine's affluent widow

User: Jack Black's Bernie takes advantage of lonely Shirley MacLaine's affluent widow

Weird biopic: Jack Black embraces role

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