In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.
Under the direction of Scott Cooper, Black Mass delivers a true story about Whitey Bulger that featured as many great moments as it did blunders.
There were various name-brand actors from Kevin Bacon and Benedict Cumberbatch to Johnny Depp and Peter Sarsgaard but big names won’t automatically guarantee a great film. Depp was excellent as Bulger and I’ll give extra kudos to Joel Edgerton on his role as John Connolly. Because trust me, after I witnessed Edgerton pull off the worst Pharaoh in the history of Exodus adaptations, I was 2 steps from writing him off forever.
So the acting from Joel and Johnny were great… But it stops there. The accents were… to be frank, awful. There are viral videos online right now featuring real-life and current Bostonians and this bunch sounds nothing like them. The costumes were pretty unimpressive as well, specifically those awful mustaches on Kevin Bacon and Adam Scott.
The film does a great job of keeping your attention and wanting to learn more, even up to the end of the film. The story itself is quite interesting. For those who aren’t familiar with Whitey Bulger I won’t ruin the ending with spoilers but I will say, though this took place in the late 70s, early 80s, the real life story just recently concluded.
The film gets a 7.5 out of 10. It’s R-rated for good reason so I wouldn’t bring any children to this. Runtime is 122 mins. so a late showing shouldn’t be too difficult to survive.