Black Mass (2015)
In South Boston during the 1970s, organized crime was everywhere. Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) was on the rise as a kingpin of the city, but he had competition with the other “families.” When childhood friend and FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) convinces Bulger to become an FBI informant, Bulger is able to get the FBI to do his dirty work by eliminating the Italian mafia. However, by the time Connolly figures out that Bulger has been using him to escape the law for his own felonious acts, it is too late to stop him.
In the spirit of other mob/crime movies such as Goodfellas, The Departed, The Town and The Iceman, I would have sworn Black Mass was a Scorsese film (but it is not.) This should tell you the caliber of quality and realism that Black Mass portrays through its characters, story and violence.
Riddled with an all-star cast, Johnny Depp is the true star of this film, however, you might not even remember he is in it by the end with his solid and convincing performance as Whitey Bulger. With is receding hair line and cat-like blue eyes, Johnny Depp transforms into Bulger so smoothly that he is hardly recognizable. He is truly haunting and will make you increasingly uneasy with each passing scene. Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, and Peter Sarsgaard are only some of the supporting cast that lend their performances to back up Depp. There isn’t a bad performance in the movie and together they make up one gripping and tension filled story.
I knew nothing about who Whitey Bulger was so I went into Black Mass with a clean slate and I was entertained from begging to end. As with any Hollywood movie, I’m sure there are inaccuracies, but I could care less because the story and characters are easy to watch and you can’t take your eyes off the screen. My only complaint about the movie would be it had too much tension and drama. I can remember in Goodfellas and The Departed a bit of comedy off and on to lighten the mood and Black Mass just seemed to be gritty throughout. It really isn’t that big a deal, but as the movie went on, I couldn’t help but wish it to end because it was tense.
At the end of the day, Black Mass is a rare September film that I could see rising to the surface during award season. Johnny Depp gives one hell of a performance and could be his best yet! For fans of this kind of movie, this is a must see! Co-starring Dakota Johnson, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbor, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, and Juno Temple.
8/10 Stars – Gripping, tense and realistic, Johnny Depp is haunting in his unrecognizable performance as Whitey Bulger.