by Cameron Tejeda | staff writer
Black Mass tells the story of crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger and the true events surrounding the Winter Hill Gang in Boston during the 1970s and 80s. This film is driven by an excellent cast, but the story on the other hand wasn’t too great.
All the actors involved with the movie deserve a lot of praise, but the standout performance was given by Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger. I actually didn’t see Depp in the movie. I saw a revolting and violent man that was Bulger. Part of that may be because of the makeup he was wearing, but most of it is because of the chilling and brilliant acting of Johnny Depp. Joel Edgerton also does a wonderful job portraying John Connolly, an FBI agent who helps protect Whitey Bulger. Edgerton has proven himself to me as a very good actor after starring in other great films such as Warrior (2011) and a film that recently came out this year, The Gift. Other notable actors including Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, and Julianne Nicholson all do fantastic in their roles as well.
The story however, is kind of forgettable. I understand that some of that may be credited to the fact that it is based around true events that may not be the most exciting. I just wish the story could have intrigued me more. The movie feels dull when Whitey Bulger is not on screen. Johnny Depp makes the movie so tension filled and disturbing when he is performing, that the rest of the film can’t keep it as enthralling when it cuts away to something less interesting.
The camera work is spectacular though, and the result is a dark and somber atmosphere that is created. The movie is very slow paced, which I think fits the mood of the film. The soundtrack composed by Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL (also the composer of the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack) contributes very nicely, and adds to the gloomy and dreary feeling of the movie.
Overall, Black Mass is a good film despite a lackluster story. It is a slow-moving character study of Whitey Bulger, that is fueled by incredible acting and atmosphere.
My Rating: B+