Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Movie review - Black Mass (R) - By Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 122 min

Black Mass is a new crime film directed by Scott Cooper and based on the same-named book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill. The movie features a talented cast led by Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kevin Bacon. There are several reasons why I was extremely excited to see this movie, including the fact that I am a huge fan of the mob genre. For example, I strongly believe that the first two Godfathers stand among the absolute greatest movies ever made and Scorsese classics such as Goodfellas and The Departed are right there too. Having said that, the biggest intrigue for me was the presence of Johnny Depp in this perfectly cast lead role. The three time Academy Award nominee is easily one of my favorite actors and I just couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with this project.

In this true story, Depp portrays James “Whitey” Bulger, a former kingpin of South Boston and one of the most notorious criminals in United States history. Beginning in the year 1975, the early portion of the film chronicles Whiteys rise to power as the leader of the Irish-American Winter Hill Gang. Meanwhile, his brother, William “Billy” Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch) is working as a Massachusetts state senator. Before long, Whiteys rule of organized crime in South Boston is challenged by the Italian Mafia. Reuniting with his old friend named John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), who is now working as FBI agent, Whitey agrees to operate as an informant in order to bring down his only competition. 

For the most part, I thought that Black Mass was an excellent gangster film with some truly amazing acting across the board. For starters, Johnny Depp completely blew it out of the park with his portrayal of Bulger and he flat out owned every scene he was in. Putting aside his character of my childhood hero, Captain Jack Sparrow, this is the best Johnny Depp performance I have ever seen. 
Even considering his already amazing body of work, I think this could be the role that earns Depp his well-earned Academy Award. Moving along, I really loved the way this movie was filmed and as expected there was plenty of brutally realistic violence and language. Overall, the acting clearly shines bright in Black Mass and it is an award worthy film that certainly shouldn’t be missed.

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