FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Last night, I saw “Black Mass,” which stars Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, The Lone Ranger ), Joel Edgerton (The Gift , The Great Gatsby ), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, Imitation Game), Kevin Bacon (Cop Car, X-Men: First Class), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey, 21 Jump Street ), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Orphan), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad [TV series], Bridge of Spies), Rory Cochrane (Argo, A Scanner Darkly), David Harbour (The Green Hornet , The Equalizer), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation [TV series], The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ), and Corey Stoll (Ant-Man, The Bourne Legacy). It is directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) and the screenplay is written by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Spectre). The film details the true story of notorious criminal James “Whitey” Bulger (Depp), who returns to South Boston and becomes an informant to the FBI in order to rid Boston of a rival gang. Although it seems like a good fit to obtain the rival gang’s members for the FBI, they soon realize that dealing with Whitey Bulger was a huge mistake.
As you could see from my watch list, I have been waiting to see “Black Mass” for the longest time. The trailers were menacing, especially with Johnny Depp’s stellar, chilling performance. I saw true promise in this film, and I would say that it fulfilled some of it. For starters, I want to say that this was a fantastically performed piece of cinema. Of course, by the looks of the trailer, there is a boatload of famous faces in this release and, although many of them do not play strong roles, all of these actors did masterfully. I loved every performance this movie had to offer. Joel Edgerton portrayed a terrific corrupt cop, Jesse Plemons performed brilliantly as Bulger’s right-hand man, and Kevin Bacon played a forceful chief. I enjoyed watching these actors perform, but none of them could touch the great Johnny Depp, who, like always, lost himself in his role. Thank goodness he went into acting, for he is a treat in every movie he is in. Outside of the acting, the directing was great. The director knew how to make the scariest scenes as well as tense ones, for a bunch of sequences feel like the characters are treading water. It pulled me into this world, and I felt dirty and fearful at how horrific Bulger’s organization and plan was. When going into this story, I didn’t know what to necessarily suspect. I knew that I was going to be shown a piece of Whitey Bulger’s life, maybe a certain situation with him. It looked to be gripping and action-packed. What I actually received was something much different, for good and bad. This plot followed Whitey’s dealing with the FBI, and how working with him had severe consequences on both sides. There were several compelling scenes in this film, many of which had me on the edge of my seat. Some freaked me out, even when I could predict a few of them. I enjoyed the realistic aspect of this release and how these characters feel real. I can feel for their situations and how everything is on the line. My main issue with this movie, however, is that it is terribly slow. Dialogue is heavy in this flick, and it goes to show when thirteen minutes feels like thirty. I’ve said before that I love a lot of scenes from this, but it does drag for a majority of the time. It’s a two-hour long movie, and it felt like it was three hours. Thankfully I wasn’t bored as much as someone else would be. Another problem, this being my last, is how quite a bit of things that happen feel like filler. The meat to this story is Bulger’s dealing with the FBI, but there are pit stops throughout that could either be interesting or unnecessary. One that is interesting is Whitey’s love for his son and his relationship with him. One that is unnecessary is Whitey’s partner screwing up with his prostitute step-daughter. It’s a mixture of many scenes that could either hit it home or miss it. In my opinion, I think this film hit the marker in many ways. I thought it was compelling with the performances of these actors and the situation Whitey and everyone around him got in. Sure, it has its issues, but I enjoyed this film a lot, and if you are into dark, pulpy, at-times-depressing movies, then this is the right one for you! FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: