Review of Black Mass
Written by Juliet Potter: 06-October-2015
Perhaps it’s the fact that his performance bounces beautifully against uber-talented Aussie actor, Joel Edgerton, or that he simply shines in the archetypal gangster role, but Black Mass is the film that will put Johnny Depp back in the limelight and potentially garner him a few statues during 2016’s award season.
While his track record of late has been somewhat lame (Into the Woods, The Tourist, Mortdecai or the Rum Diary, anyone?), he’s more than redeemed himself with his portrayal of Irish mobster, James Whitey.
Set amongst the backdrop of 1970s Boston, this film is text book gangster, with a solid, true plot that at times is as trademark violent and gruesome, as it is slow moving.
Edgerton plays FBI Agent John Connolly, who persuades his childhood friend, Bulger to collaborate with the Bureau and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob.
The unlikely alliance eventually and predictably spirals out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, kill a bunch of people and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston, or indeed American, history.
Complicating matters for Connolly is the fact that Whitey’s brother Bill, played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate.
Depp holds the film together for the most part, but Edgerton stands out as a superb talent who is sure to make a huge impact in Hollywood after this stellar performance.
Fifty Shades of Grey's Dakota Johnson is pleasantly solid in this one (not even in the slightly way irritating) in her role as Whitey's wife, while Jessie Plemons joins a stellar supporting cast, which includes Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard and Julianne Nicholson, all whose acting chops are infinitely better than the overcooked script.
Well done? If you like your movies mafia, brutal, slow and predictable, it's in the bag.