Top Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 starsJohnny Depp shines in this true story of a Boston gangster
By M. Oleson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 21, 2015
Theatrical review. Possible spoilers. Johnny Depp is no stranger to playing notorious criminals. Even discounting Captain Jack Sparrow, he was John Dillinger in 2009's "Public Enemies." Here he plays a more modern gangster, James `Whitey' Bulger. Set at the height of Bulger's power in Boston of the late 1970's and early 80's, Depp provides a masterful portrayal of the criminal psychopath.
At the suggestion of an ambitious FBI agent, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), Bulger strikes an unholy alliance suggested by the title. Connolly and Bulger were childhood friends. Bulger will provide inside info on the Italian Cosa Nostra who control crime in North Boston. In return, Connolly will turn the other way when it comes to his reign in the South. The only proviso, no killing. Bulger who hates to be called `Whitey'- his friends call him Jimmy - doesn't keep his promise. (Note: We never learn why he was called `Whitey' by the FBI.) He has no tolerance for what he considers misbehavior from his own gang, let alone those who get in his way.
As usual, with characters like this, Bulger has another side. In one scene, he escorts an elderly woman from his old neighborhood to her apartment. She says, "You're such a nice boy." He also loves his young son, Douglas (Luke Ryan). In a dinner time scene with his girlfriend, Lindsey (Dakota Johnson) and mother of Douglas, he confronts his son who has gotten into trouble at school for fighting. He tells the boy in front of the frustrated Lindsey, that his mistake wasn't the fighting, it was that he did it in front of others. It's all about the time and place, says Jimmy.Read more
Comment 20 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 starsSolid mobster crime drama with a stellar Johnny Depp
By Paul Allaer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 19, 2015
Format: Amazon Video
"Black Mass" (2015 release; 122 min.) brings the story of James "Whitey" Bulger (played by Johnny Depp), the infamous Boston mobster. As the movie opens, we see one of Bulger's associates strike a deal with the FBI to spill everything ("I want it on record, I'm not a rat", ha!). We then flash back to "1975, South Boston", and we get to know Bulger and his small circle of trusted associates. In a parallel story, we get to know FBI agent John Connolly (played by Joel Edgerton), also a 'Southie' who has just returned to Boston. Connolly convinces Bulger to become an FBI informant (which Bulger hopes will help him eliminate the rival mobsters from North Boston). To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, the is the latest movie from up-and-coming director Scott Cooper, who earlier brought us the excellent films "Crazy Heart" (2009) and "Out of the Furnace" (2013). Unlike those movies, he did not write the script for "Black Mass" not thought up the story (the film is based on the book of the same name). That does not diminish Cooper's merits with this one, as Cooper strikes the right tone and brings us a gritty and hard-as-nails crime drama. If tough language (the F bomb drops frequently) or violence (yes, people will get hurt and killed) will bother you, then do yourself a favor and stay away from this. The best part of the movie for me is as we see the noose getting tighter and tighter around Bulger's neck (figuratively speaking) and options are starting to diminish. Second, the performance from Johnny Depp is nothing short of stellar, reconfirming our (ebbing) belief that this is a top notch actor,.Read more
1 Comment 15 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 starsmost definitely not a True Story.
By R. Hiteshew on January 16, 2016
Saw it in theater. Well-done but the more you know about Whitey Bulger the more you will dislike this film. Opening scene? Didn't happen. Pre-murder Miami nightclub scene? Didn't happen and he was shot in an airport parking garage. Bulger cussing all the time? Didn't happen. Final scene with him driving off alone? Didn't happen. Major characters either absent (Catherine Grieg, with whom he spent over a decade on the run is barely in the movie) or not developed (right-hand man Kevin Meeks, hit man John Matarano, or key murder victims Roger Wheeler & Brian Halloran). The scenes with Bulger & Connelly feels like you're watching an unnecessary remake of Nicholson & Damon in The Departed. Cumberbatch badly miscast as short ruthless dynamo Billy Bulger. All the action seems random & confused because the viewer is left in the dark about so many details that explains the characters' actions. I've heard the original cut was three-hours. I'd like to see that.
Comment 7 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?