James “Whitey” Bulger isn’t a man I’m familiar with, however, the name is now bolded in my memory after seeing Johnny Depp’s stellar performance as him. Black Mass is a good movie that is great because of it’s stellar cast. Part crime movie with a twist, we get a story that starts off slow and somewhat boring. It doesn’t take long for the story to get more intriguing and makes for one hell of an interesting ride.
I can’t praise Johnny Depp enough on his performance as Whitey Bulger. As far as I’m concerned he is a front runner for an Oscar for best actor. The physicality of Bulgar is enough of a change for Depp, let along the characters personality and voice. It is the best role Depp has ever done by a wide margin. He gives you a two layered cake with delicious frosting and tasty cake. An obscure analogy for certain, Depp plays a man, a broken man, and a twisted tyrant. Each is gripping and you just can’t get enough of the deviant he plays. If Johnny Depp isn’t nominated for best actor I’m calling shenanigans on the Oscars. I’m glad I got that all out.
Depp isn’t the only one who should be praised, he’s surrounded by a terrific cast of skilled actors. Joel Edgerton plays John Connelly, a man shielding/partnering Bulger. Bulger proves to be a toxic personality as his flavor passes to Connolly and Connolly starts to delve into the horrors that Bulger encompasses himself with. Amongst others, Benedict Cumberbatch does a great Boston accent and serves as Billy Bulger; Whitey’s brother. The opening introduces us to these characters as they live what appears to be a normal lives. The intro or first 25 minutes of the film were rather dull, it works as a set up for everything else so do pay attention. Incoherent Boston-accented chatter and relationships are set up in this time, something big does happen though and it molds Whitey into becoming a true menace.
The remainder of the movie is a solid, gritty crime chronicling of men that got away with literal murder. It’s throughly interesting this entire time and you’re engaged in what’s happening and what will happen next. Looking back I would absolutely see the movie one more time, but otherwise I don’t see this as an incredibly grand movie that requires multiple viewing. We get the story of Bulger and Connelly, we see their actions and their committed atrocities, the movie doesn’t really warrant a second viewing. I feel perfectly content having seen it and maybe I would come back to see Depp, but it’s the acting that makes this movie something special.
Again, the end result is a good movie that’s made better by the cast really nailing down their characters. Black Mass and The Martian are easily two of the best movies I’ve seen in months. If you can stomach the intensity, violence, and controlled evil of Bulger then I give this a very high recommendation.