BLACK MASS (15)
D: Scott Cooper
Warner Bros/Cross Creek/Ratpac-Dune (Scott Cooper, John Lesher, Patrick McCormick, Brian Oliver & Tyler Thompson)
USA 🇺🇸 2015
W: Mark Mallouk & Jez Butterworth [based on the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob" by Dick Lehr & Gerard O'Neill]
DP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Ed: David Rosenbloom
Mus: Tom Holkenborg
Johnny Depp (James 'Whitey' Bulger), Joel Edgerton (John Connolly), Benedict Cumberbatch (William Bulger), Dakota Johnson (Lindsey Cyr), Jesse Plemons (Kevin Weeks), Kevin Bacon (Charles McGuire)
Johnny Depp undergoes a complete transformation in this crime biopic as he takes on the role of James 'Whitey' Bulger, a nefarious gangster who operated out of South Boston during the 1970's and 80's and spent 12 years on the FBI's Most Wanted list after his gang members ratted him out to the Feds.
It's not just the eerie makeup which sees Depp become the murderous Bulger, but the performance itself, completely against type from his usual portrayals, and you'd be forgiven for doubting it was the actor at all.
Favoured by a brother in politics and an ally in the FBI, Bulger utilised these assets to reprimand rivals gangsters, while he coldly murdered anyone who he deemed untrustworthy as he built an empire on drugs and other criminal activity.
Though the performances are strong, the story itself isn't too unlike anything you've seen before. Mix The Departed and The Sopranos together with a sprinkle of true events and that's the movie.
Dakota Johnson certainly gives a better account of her acting talents here than she does in Fifty Shades Of Grey, but that's like saying Kevin Bacon does a better job here than he does in the EE adverts.
Depp is brilliant. The film itself, not so much.
Did You Know:
To make sure Johnny Depp's performance was true to the real James "Whitey" Bulger, Scott Cooper hired some of Bulger's old associates as consultants to the film. Each of them praised Depp's performance, saying, "That's Whitey."