Black Mass Review



Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp Johnny Depp
Joel Edgerton Joel Edgerton
Benedict Cumberbatch Benedict Cumberbatch
Dakota Johnson Dakota Johnson
Kevin Bacon Kevin Bacon

Plot- The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Review- Make no bones about it, Black Mass is Johnny Depps film. He is incredible as real life gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger. He’s got the cold dead eyes of a shark and always seems to be 2 seconds away from committing some awful act before carrying on as if nothing has happened. Whenever he’s on screen he’s magnetic. Whenever he’s not, you get to play “Where on Earth is Benedicts accent from?”

This is an old school crime film, men in smoky rooms growling at each other, then the (admittedly well done) music kicks in, there’s an act of violence and then they all go back go growling at each other. Move a few years down the line and repeat.

There’s very little sense of plot, or even ageing. No matter how much the voice-overs tell us that Whitey was making he never seems to be any richer. Also, characters appear and vanish  with very little or no explanation.

The film feels very Faustian but there’s no sense that the FBI is getting anything out of it. Whitey has the run of the town but the FBI’s sole motivation appears to be a puppy-dog sense of loyalty.

And on some of the events I was completely lost. Events that seem to matter in one segment are forgotten about completely in another. I feels very episodic. Snapshots with very little connecting them other than characters.

In the end, this is a solid old school crime drama with a few loose ends but saved by an amazing performance by Depp

My Score- If Nothing Else 




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