Movie Review (Black Mass)


RELEASE DATE: September 18, 2015
STUDIO: Warner Bros. Pictures
DIRECTOR: Scott Cooper
SCREENWRITERS: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth
STARRING: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rory Cochrane, Jesse Plemons, Kevin Bacon, W. Earl Brown, David Harbour, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Juno Temple
GENRE: Drama, Crime


The case of Whitey Bulger and the FBI is an interesting tale. An old friend, FBI Special Agent John Connolly, from the neighborhood who looked up to Whitey decides to help him from being taken down by the FBI out of a warped sense of loyalty. This “help” allows Bulger to trade info on his Italian Mafia competition and in return he gets to have the FBI look the other way while he does his business. Sounds crazy, right? Well, it also sounds true because that’s how it went down.

The story is a slowly developing one but, it’s slower pace allows for some of the best parts of the movie. At the beginning, “Whitey” is obviously a bad guy but, the scenes with his family are the few moments that he softens up. In those moments you can see the minute amount of good left in a very very vicious and otherwise cold individual. Bulger has a rotting tooth that as he loses those little bits of decency appears to get darker like a visual metaphor for his soul. The character is interesting and Johnny Depp plays him adeptly using his chameleon like ability to turn in to the person he’s playing. It’s awesome to watch. Joel Edgerton also gives a praise worthy performance as FBI Special Agent John Connolly. His Boston accent is wicked awesome considering his real life Australian accent. Edgerton plays Agent Connolly who has a certain naive code of honor from the “old” neighborhood that he uses in all of his life decisions. This code of loyalty and blinding hero worship are what drag him down until he’s in over his head. The rest of the cast turn in good performances with Kevin Bacon playing Connolly’s apprehensive boss and Benedict Cumberbatch also dropping a distinctive accent to pick up a rather good accent as Boston Senator Billy Bulger (Whitey’s brother).

The performances pulled from this fantastic cast of actors is what will drive away any tedium one may feel during the slow build up of the picture. Depp and Edgerton are encapsulating and you have no choice but to get wrapped up in their scenes. Black Mass will get Oscar consideation whether it be for best or supporting actor, director, etc. is up in the air, but I know it will get many looks.