Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time Linklater filmed something and replaced it later. Borrowing the puzzling if not misguided fake-talking-heads device from Frost/Nixon, Bernie recounts an interesting true story through dramatisation and the accounts of the community still gossiping, most (though not all) played by actors. As it turns out, the feelings of these people have significant importance, but it’s the narrative that proves far more interesting, anchored by a magnetic Jack Black as the much-loved mortician/funeral director Bernie Tiede. It is a layered and ambiguous performance and has justly earned Black wide acclaim though, sadly, no Oscar nomination. Against him, Shirley MacLaine is wonderful as the unpopular widow taken in by his charm and cheer. You can watch her guards being dropped. Unfortunately, an over-reliance on the “documentary” structure prevent the story from being as engaging or cinematic as it really ought to be.