A Renaissance man, a community leader, and a mortician who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a wealthy widow that leads to fatal consequences: this is the premise to Richard Linklater‘s latest, a black comedy called “Bernie.” Starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and the great Shirley MacLaine, “Bernie” is Linklater’s first feature-length effort since 2009’s “Me & Orson Welles,” and is a bit of a comeback as two projects (“Liars A-E,” and a spiritual sequel to “Dazed & Confused“), both fell apart in the interim due to financial reasons.
Based on an article in Texas Monthly magazine by Skip Hollandsworth, who also co-wrote the comedic film with Linklater, the longer log-line of the film eludicates a little bit: a local mortician (Black) in a small-Texas town strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow (MacLaine) and when he kills her, he goes to great lengths to create the illusion that she’s alive. That one can’t be considered a spoiler, since it’s been out there from day one. Long heralded as Linklater’s attempt at doing a “Fargo“-esque comedy, in our review from last year’s L.A. Film Festival, we described the film as a “slow burn of a crime thriller, but one that echoes the pace of small-town living while demonstrating how too many little things can build to a fever pitch that’s too much to bear.” Set for a April 27 release date, “Bernie” also screens at the upcoming 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Watch the trailer below.