Bernie (M)(104 min)
Directed by Richard Linklater.
Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine.
Bernie is a true story. Jack Black, in by far the best work he's done since High Fidelity or Jesus' Son, plays East Texan assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede.
In 1996, Tiede confessed to murdering his employer and companion; 81-year-old Marjorie Nugent. No one in town was willing to believe that Tiede had done it.
Or if he had, they were still unwilling to see him tried, because every one loved the guy so much. And so began one of the oddest criminal investigations and trials in Texas history.
Richard Linklater (Slacker), aided by a great cast - including interviews with many of the actual protagonists - and a smart script, has produced one of the least predictable and more original films I've seen in months.
It's not perfect, and I might even have preferred a straight documentary to Linklater's approach, but Bernie is well worth a look.
- © Fairfax NZ News