Linklater's Bernie succeds thanks to Jack Black and a good narrative, but the story is not that good, or I feel that because its not told in the best of ways.
An interesting and thought-provoking plot.
Funny, entertaining, and educational.
Based on a true story.
Follows a true crime story involving Bernie Tiede (played by Jack Black) a mortician who is friendly and liked by the entire town, is very good at his job and the town is divided about his sexual orientation. Bernie meets Mrs Nugent (Shirley MacLaine) at her husband's funeral and as he always does tries to be friendly by visiting and bringing in gifts after the funeral. Mrs. Nugent who is very rich, lonely and hated by the entire community looks at him as a potential companion. Bernie being outgoing and friendly with everyone, Mrs. Nugent restricts his activities and metaphorically imprisons him to act upon her whims in her house. In one desperate moment, Bernie picks up a gun and shoots her in the back.
Bernie preserves her body in a freezer and keeps spending Mrs. Nugent's money for the church, school and anyone who needed anything while the suspicions keep arising from her financial manager. While everyone in town had no shred of doubt about Bernie's capability or intentions, the town's DA Danny Buck (Matthew McConaughey) thinks otherwise.
I felt the movie told a biased story towards Bernie (though the real man is serving his time and this is not going to do any good). It is very difficult to perceive that the old lady did not have anyone say one nice thing about her. However mean one person might be, after death that too in such circumstances, I believe it may not be like that in real life as shown in the movie.
A landmark role for Jack Black since he hasn't done anything like this before. Actually he hasn't done anything like anything else before other than being himself in all his movies. Especially some mannerisms using his hands or the way he walks is hilarious and incredible. Matthew McConaughey is neither new to play an attorney nor using a Texan accent, but there was some weird makeup and it took me sometime to make sure that was him. The tone of the movie was never depressing where most movies that are associated with true crimes tend to do, it is upbeat from begin to finish. The screenplay technique to go with testimonials (as against a narrative) worked wonders in terms of holding attention, presenting the entire characters in different voices but ended up being biased (may thats the real story). I am not sure if this can be in contention for awards, but the real Bernie would have been proud of this effort.
Biased, upbeat and superbly acted.