Bernie is retelling of the story of a murder in 1996 in Carthage, TX. The film flips back and forth between a narrative storyline and faux documentary style interviews with Carthage residents about Bernie and the crime. I was impressed by how well the director meshed the two forms together to create what feels like a seamless flow.
The actors, of course, are top-notch and don’t disappoint, but I found the way they captured East Texas life (which is more like the northern Louisiana where I was born and spent about a third of my childhood than it is the rest of Texas) in the interspersed fictionalized interviews with Carthage residents even more entertaining. I think anyone who has ever lived in a small Southern town will immediately recognize in those residents some of the same sort of people they have known.
Despite its subject matter, the film is hilarious. Anyone who can get through the film without cracking up at least a few times might just be a Marjorie Nugent. It’s an independent film, so it’s not going to have the distribution of a major blockbuster, but if you can see it in a theater, I recommend doing so. If not, I suppose there’s always the DVD.
Pay attention early in the film to the description of the regions of Texas by the Carthage resident. If you know Texas, you’ll smile knowingly and at least chuckle at a few points. If you don’t know Texas, it will give you some insight into our state.
Enjoy the trailer and see the movie. Bernie gets two thumbs up!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7VSAFvPq7c