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Bernie - Film Review

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by Alexander Dermer (subscribe)
Alex is a freelance writer, retail worker, short film maker, an avid lover of The Arts and always willing to explore.
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Like with many of Richard Linklater's features, Bernie holds both immensely negative and positive aspects. Fortunately for Linklater, his career has since progressed; the positive aspects of this artist's style of writing and direction, have slowly begun to out weigh the negative. What Bernie results as is not only a thoroughly enjoyable story told through a series of flashing images, but one that may actually be worth dragging yourself outside of the house for.

Set in the small-town of Texas, we follow the life of the well loved and deeply religious, local mortician known as Bernie. Other than dressing up the dead, another favourite past time of Bernie's, is helping out the elderly women in his local community. However little does Bernie know, that just one interaction with a particular old lady, will change his life forever.

Although Bernie drags occasionally through the initial half, once it picks itself up, it rip roars with all its entire might straight to the very end. The great aspects of this film include it's strong screenplay, from the clever minds of Richard Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth; as well as an all round fantastic performance from the entire cast, especially as Jack Black's best acting to date. Despite that Bernie isn't as funny as it would often like to be, when it does actually make you laugh, it's hilarious.

With that being said, Linklater's Bernie is not without it's detrimental points. Similar to much of Linklater's previous features, Bernie was initially spawned with a great idea, but as previously mentioned, is occasionally drawn out to oblivion; at rare moments to the point of near boredom. One of the other few issues I had with Bernie was its occasional jump ship, from the black comedy genre; despite what the film's advertising seemed to thoroughly insure. Linklater at times randomly spins the film's humour more to the ignorance of Texan community stereotypes; as if trying to relive some sort of long-winded nostalgia from his 1991 film, Slacker. Although I admit these scenes may have brought out the occasional laugh here and there, this style of comedy works preferably as a sideline, as apposed to being the central target for a feature film.

Overall Bernie is certainly not a film that is recommended for all audiences, however for those who are fans of black comedy, Jack Black or Richard Linklater; this is well worth a look.


OFLC (Office of Film and Literature Classification) rating:

Bernie will be screening from the 16/08/2012. Find it at a cinema near you.
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Why? Because it's dead funny
When: From the 16 of August at selected cinemas
Where: Selected cinemas
Cost: A movie ticket
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