metro times: Tale of 'Bernie' the killer doesn't quite work
Opens today at the Michigan Theater
Review by Jeff Meyers of the Metro Times
It's easy to see why filmmaker Richard Linklater ("School Of Rock," "Dazed And Confused") was drawn to the true-crime story of Bernie Tiede, a selfless and beloved mortician in Carthage, Texas, who murdered Marjorie Nugent, the meanest old lady in town. It's just not clear what point the filmmaker was trying to make with this breezy and mordantly comedic docu-drama.
With its quirky characters and cultural specificity, comparisons to the Coen Brothers' "Fargo" will be inevitable. But Linklater's approach is as ambling and endearing as its sunny East Texas setting, a far cry from the snarky genre deconstructions and eccentric morality plays that populate the Coens' work. Instead, Bernie plays like "In Cold Blood" — if it had been directed by Christopher Guest.