A crime treat.
I love oxymorons and this one aptly describes the film based on the story of convicted murderer Bernhardt “Bernie” Tiede. In 1996, 38-year-old Tiede shot 81-year-old Marge Nugent in the back three times as they were preparing to go out for lunch in Carthage, Texas.
Director and screenwriter Richard Linklater effortlessly spins this tale with an A-list cast of actors: Jack Black (Bernie), Shirley MacLaine (Marge Nugent), and Matthew McConaughey (District Attorney).
To add to the authenticity, actual townies speak up at regular intervals, giving us insight into a beloved assistant funeral director who befriended everyone, even the meanest and richest widow in town. Bernie could do no wrong and the townspeople turned a blind eye to his homosexuality, comparing him to Jesus and the twelve apostles. Didn’t those bachelors spend all their time together?
I was impressed by McConaughey’s performance as the relentless district attorney who ignored public sentiment and prosecuted Bernie.
I agree with one critic—“A pleasant little movie about a pleasant little murderer.”