Review: Black Mass
It's not what you do, it's where you do it.
It almost feels redundant because Bulger is so well known, but here's the story - James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) ran crime in south Boston in the 70's. He was feared and he was careful. He rose to essentially king pin status because of a deal he made with his childhood friend, John Conolly (Joel Egerton) who was in the FBI. In exchange for an "agreement" (Whitey insisted that he wasn't an informant, nor a rat) he fed the FBI intel to take down the Italian mafia, all while they turned a blind eye to him. Of course, Whitey never stayed out of trouble, and soon all the drugs dealings, murders, eventually come down on him.
Even if you know a lot about Bulger and his story, this film still demands to be seen. It has a majorly talented cast, even though some of the big players like Corey Stoll and Peter Sarsgaard only have a few scenes. It's been awhile since I had read anything on Bulger, so I didn't mind the refresher.
It's nice to see Johnny Depp back in this form. He's a force as Bulger. Quietly terrifying and unpredictable. This is the Depp we've been missing over the past few years. Egerton is still on a roll as of late, playing the cocky and disingenuous Conolly. You get to the point where you're really rooting against him. Especially when Conolly is speaking with his fellow co-workers played by Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, and David Harbour - who is supremely underrated and gives the best performance second to Depp in this film. He's obviously a guy trying to do the right thing who gets way in over his head, and you can slowly seem him come apart as he realizes this.
For a film about a crime lord, It's not nearly as violent as it could've been. It earns its R rating, but for anyone that is afraid of it being too gory, it's not bad at all. The atmosphere of the film is intense and the pacing is perfect. (They apparently edited out at least 30 minutes from the original cut) Sure, some were shaky on their accents (Benedict Cumberbatch some of the time, Dakota Johnson all of the time, but yell yes to Juno Temple who nailed it in her one scene) but none are bad enough to distract for very long.
Memorable Quote: "If you ever come into my office again with a fucked up idea like that, you will rue the day you joined the FBI." - Billy Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch)
Random thought: How the hell did Dakota Johnson secure top billing for this film? If any female should've gotten that honor, it should've been Julianne Nicholson.