'Bernie' is the film Jack Black needed to make. It's a reminder that he's a good actor and that there's more to him than being the buffoon. It's the true story of Bernie Tiede, a beloved member of a small community who shot and killed his elderly companion and kept her in a freezer. The film portrays Bernie as a sympathetic and loveable guy, as he was considered by his entire community. His crime was an impulsive act in a snap moment of passion as her jealous possession of him reached a breaking point. Jack Black is brilliant and he's a real joy to watch. Also great is Shirley Maclaine as the stone-cold witch of a woman who made Bernie her sole beneficiary. It's directed by Richard Linklater who's proved to be a versatile director having made films like Dazed & Confused, School of Rock, Before Sunrise and A Scanner Darkly. His approach to the material is questionable, however, as he presents the story in a documentary style. He constantly crosses to interviews of locals sharing their opinions of Bernie and I found this really distracting. These were actual real life people who knew Bernie which is fascinating in itself but they were probably better used in an actual documentary. There was potential for a straight narrative but its impact was lost on me with the chosen format. The film is slightly overlong but given that the performances are so solid, its still a great flick worth catching.