Jack Black, whose career was built on getting deep inside the skin of his characters, arguably reaches the pinnacle of his performances as Bernie Tiede in “Bernie” — based on actual events that happened in small-town Texas 17 years ago.

Directed by Richard Linklater (Black’s second team-up with him since “The School of Rock” in 2003), “Bernie” is a fictional documentary, sticking to the bare facts while speculating on unrevealed emotional agendas. The story of a mortician who took up with a wealthy, decades-older local widow and was later accused of killing her in cold blood, “Bernie” is by turns sinister, funny and very sad. The trial made headlines in the United States before it was forgotten. According to the film, though, locals still talk about it as if it happened yesterday.

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