Movie review: Black Mass

Andrea Mendoza, Office Manager

Black Mass, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger from South Boston. Whitey is born with a malicious intent to gain power which is revealed at an early stage in the movie.

Bulger, portrayed by Johnny Depp, is the most notorious criminal of his time. He’s depicted through the eyes of director Scott Cooper.

Bulger begins his life as an Irish thug who becomes the most violent crime lord in the United States with the help of the FBI in the late 1970s.

When the movie starts, Bulger is a small-time crime boss of the Irish mob “Winter Hill Gang” beloved in his neighborhood in Boston but getting squeezed out by the Italian Mafia that’s taken over the North End. His childhood friend, FBI agent John Connolly played by Joel Edgerton, gets the idea to align himself with the man he grew up with: Bulger. He’ll become an FBI informant, giving the Bureau information so they can take down the mafia, and in return, the FBI will look the other way when it comes to Bulger’s own activities. It’s a risky proposition, and Bulger finds himself killing his competitors and spreading his criminal operation across the country. It soon becomes clear to Connolly that Bulger may have become more dangerous than the entire Italian Mafia. Bulger will stop at nothing to maintain his reign of  terror and power in South Boston.

Bulger manipulates Connolly and manages to elude capture and becomes the most wanted man in the United States.

Black Mass is definitely a Depp type of movie. There isn’t one scene without the versatile actor. In this movie, it comes to no surprise that Depp is wearing prosthetics to make him barely recognizable.

Depp’s portrayal of Bulger is absolutely superb, along with his fellow cast members: Benedict Cumberbatch as Bill Bulger (playing the most powerful senator in the city who is Bulger’s brother) and Dakota Johnson as Lindsey Cyr (Bulger’s long-time girlfriend and mother of Bulger’s only child).

This highly anticipated film surprisingly met expectations. Black Mass’s film production was $53 million. During its first week in the box office, Black Mass made $23 million. The film came in second against The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, which made $30.3 million on opening week.

The movie’s slow start and lack of violence makes the movie unworthy of five stars while the star actors make the movie come alive.

I give it: 3/5

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Andrea Mendoza
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Movie review: Black Mass

by Andrea Mendoza time to read: 2 min