Black Mass is the most recently released gangster film, and it is a must see for anyone who enjoys a good movie. The film is based on the true story of South Boston’s most notorious crime lord, James “Whitey” Bulger. Bulger is played by fan favorite Johnny Depp, and he knocks the role out of the park. Depp reaches a level of darkness I had never seen from him, and the intensity in his eyes portrays the horror of the character. His performance is completely enthralling and adds to the already interesting and complex story. The movie also features Joel Edgerton as an up and coming FBI agent who convinces his superiors to enlist Bulger as an FBI informant, in order to take down the Italian Mafia. His performance is equally impressive and the rapport between the two actors grips the audience.
My dad is from Boston, half of my family lives in Boston, and I went to a boarding school in Boston, so Boston is basically my second home, so unlike many of the movies I watch I went into this one somewhat educated on the background. I have always been fascinated by gangster movies, especially those which are true stories. The idea that some of these events I am watching actually happened in real life, to real people, captures me. Films such as American Gangster, Catch Me if You Can, and Public Enemies all feature criminals with unbelievable stories, and I can now add Black Mass to my list of favorites.
Perhaps my favorite part of the film was not the acting, which was stellar, but it was the way the story itself was told. Edgerton plays John Connolly, an FBI agent and neighborhood friend of Bulgers who convinces the FBI Bulger can be used to catch bigger fish. In return, Bulger receives immunity, which results in a transformation from neighborhood crime leader, to a country wide criminal king-pin, a transformation Connolly himself allowed to happen. The director does a tremendous job of showing Connolly’s progression from good guy, to bad guy, as he becomes more engrossed in Bulger’s lifestyle. Despite their terrible decisions and actions, I found the level of loyalty to be impressive and it was at the heart of the film. I was fully aware of Whitey Bulger and his story prior to the movie, but I truly had no idea of all the details it went with, and the movie educates its viewers on not only Whitey Bulger, but on the entire story, and all the people who were involved.
Like any movie, the film had its highs and lows, but generally speaking it was nothing but a positive experience that was well worth the money. Despite a couple of poorly faked accents, I found no flaws, and the director ends the film on a great note. If you’re a fan of movies I definitely recommend this film, and if you’re a fan of Johnny Depp or are familiar with the Whitey Bulger story, it is a must see.