Depp at his most dismal.
Based on a true story, Black Mass looks back upon the crimes of one of the FBI’s most wanted, James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) in South Boston, 1975. John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), an old friend, appears to take an interest in him, but not to take him down. Told in a series of flashbacks, Bulger’s rise to power becomes apparent in a world so rarely seen. Highly anticipated by lovers of the crime genre, Black Mass, directed by Scott Cooper, has the potential to gain an Oscar nomination for Depp. The film explores the themes of corruption and loss of humanity; and the burning question of “how far is too far?”
Depp takes on his most daunting role yet by portraying Bulger, one of the most famous American gangsters (and murderers) in organised crime. Though there may be a lot of ghosts and demons featured in the horror genre as of recent; not one is as disturbingly alarming as “Whitey” Bulger. The make-up department certainly did a matchless job when it came to transforming Depp into the blue-eyed monster that Bulger is. And as one can imagine, Depp fully immersed himself in this role – from the speech, to the attitude, to the mannerisms. He’s intimidating, withdrawn, and simply sour. Not a moment passes where you are reminded of the actor, Depp executes this part. The supporting cast is equally as great, especially Joel Edgerton, who has certainly made a name for himself in such a short period of time, especially after his outstanding debut in The Gift. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Whitey’s younger brother, Billy Bulger. To his disadvantage, his naturally British accent slips through on more than one occasion, resulting in the sloppiest Boston accent heard to date.
Depp’s best performance in years. An authentic script with an overwhelming sense of unease of a world filled to the brim with corruption. Not quite a Ford Coppola or Scorsese classic, but excellent nonetheless. The narrative sticks slightly too tight to conventions on the genre, and at parts feels a little slow, but on the whole, Black Mass is worth a shot.