One of the year’s ’lightest’ delights, murder-cover-up-comedy "Bernie" is an actor’s showcase the likes of which we rarely see. Jack Black stars as - or rather, disappears into the role of - the titular mortician (embodying a particular type of closeted Southern homosexuals), who ends up being forced to sheepishly evade the prosecutions of a local Texas DA (a revelatory Matthew McConaughey, before he turned heads in "Magic Mike" and "Killer Joe",) after he impulsively murders the mean little old lady who was so successfully keeping him under her thumb.
The film, directed by Richard Linklater of "Dazed and Confused" fame, has a consistently pervading sense of humanism that quickly gets you over the docu-drama aesthetic (townsfolk from the town of the ’real’ Bernie, who forced the trial for the murder to be moved to another county due to their blind support of the killer, comment interstitially here) as well as an impressively astute eye for the slight economic and cultural discrepancies within different regions of Texas. But you’ll probably need a second viewing to appreciate most of Linklater’s final subtleties - the first viewing, your focus will no doubt be dominated by McConaughey’s singular scenery chewing.
"Bernie" arrives on Blu-ray with an unfortunately bland selection of extras; nothing more than a few promotional 10-minute behind-the-scenes pieces (none of which contain information you can’t glean elsewhere,) and the requisite trailer (a commentary with Linklater really should’ve been included.) Still, the digital photography appears impeccable on the disc, so any complaints about extras are rendered moot by that success. "Bernie" may not be an overwhelmingly audacious film, but it’s surely the sweetest, kindest, most inclusive portrait of a murdering madman ever painted.