Featuring an award worthy performance by Jack Black as "Bernie", this dark comedy is a remarkably true story. Director Richard Linklater films Bernie Tiede's story in a pseudo documentary style, using many of the real inhabitants of Carthage Texas, where the story takes place. Mr. Tiede was an assistant funeral director beloved by everyone in town. When he takes up a friendship with the town's nastiest citizen, the widow Mrs. Nugent (played wonderfully by Shirley McLaine), the town is aghast and after an unexpected turn, things really start to heat up.
The film co-stars Matthew McConaughey, charismatic as always and perfectly cast. And while he and Ms. McLaine shine, it is really Mr. Black who shines the most. He completely disappears into the role of Bernie, a character so completely different from anything he has played before. Mr. Black is also known for singing as well as acting and in the film he gets a chance to show off his vocal range with a list of gospel songs. It's a Jack Black we have never seen and he's just terrific.
Give Mr. Linklater credit for not only seeing potential in Mr. Black for the role but in his choices of the real life towns folk he puts on screen to fill in the back-story of Bernie Tiede. They are truly a colorful cast of characters and really add flavor to the story.
This little independent film certainly has a quirky appeal and is worth your time, especially if you are looking for something completely different.