Black Mass serves as a nice redemption for the floundering career of Johnny Depp, who has leaned more on quirky voices and loud makeup than his actual skills in recent years. His portrayal of mob boss Whitey Bulger is a powerhouse performance and easily his best since he first introduced the world to Jack Sparrow. It's too bad the movie as a whole doesn't fair quite as well. Despite a great cast and some interestingly insane source material, somehow a movie about one of America's most infamous criminals feels more like small claims court. Director Cooper focuses his narrative on Bulger's less-than-legal partnership with the FBI. It's a fascinatingly close-knit community we witness (agents, felons, politicians, and families alike) in which loyalty and corruption go hand-in-hand. It's a grimy yet quiet 70's-feel gangster film that engages its audience nearly as much as it reminds them of better films. Therein lies its big problem: What is Black Mass offering that hasn't already been perfected in other gangster films? Unfortunately, instead of a true movie-making vision, it's like a guy watched every crime drama from the last 40 years and just spit out a less-interesting copycat. Not that a counterfeit of something great can't still have its positives: the score is beautiful and the performances from the top-notch cast around Depp are nearly as superb as his, all of whom nail the oft-parodied Bostonian accent with aplomb. But with too many side plots to juggle, not enough cohesion to the storytelling, and an unfortunate lack of auteur vision, Black Mass just can't stand against the great American crime films of yore (Chinatown, Godfather, Goodfellas).
Action Biography Crime Drama
Based on a true story of James "Whitey" Bulger, an Irish Mob godfather and FBI informant who had a "secret trading" deal with his brother, William "Billy" Bulger, a state senator and a Boston public figure, and John Connolly, an FBI agent. They planned to take down the Italian mob and mafia in Boston, which went awry and things turned massively violent. When the credence for each other began fading out, drug dealing, murders, and extortion started to rise, and forced the FBI's Boston office to confirm that Whitey Bulger was one of the most notorious criminals in US history and also one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List criminals.
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January 21, 2016 at 4:31 pm