Movie Review: Black Mass
I love Johnny Depp, I love crime movies, I love Boston, and I love Boston movies. The Town is one of my all-time favorite movies, I love Boston accents and wish I had one, I'm proud of this city, and I'm beyond blessed to be commuting to work over the Charles River every day. But Black Mass hurt my Boston movie-loving self for more than just the painful subject matter. It follows the crime spree of James "Whitey" Bulger, and living in Boston it hits even closer to home because Whitey was just found and tried in the last few years. We saw this movie in the Somerville Theatre (my fave), which was packed with sure Boston-lovers like us.
The film is advertised as Johnny Depp in all his glory, and I found this both true and false; it's true that Depp is amazing in this part, despite his horrible contact lenses. But it's false in that it's really not his movie. Joel Edgerton as John Connolly really takes the movie, not so much for acting ability but more because the script leads him there; while obviously the catalyst of the plot is Whitey, Connolly is the one on whom the main focus of the film rests. We learn more about Connolly and his character, relationships, and the repercussions of his actions than we really do about Whitey. This isn't a criticism of the movie so much as how it's advertised; I was expecting a Depp showdown here and that just isn't what the movie delivers.
Apart from the skewed expectations the movie sets up in that sense, it also could have used a bit more excitement. How can a movie about a psychopath who kills dozens of people be somewhat flat and at times boring? I'm not sure, but somehow, it managed. Nothing truly escalates in the way that I wanted it to.
Two thumbs up for the accents though--with the exception of Benedict Cumberbatch, the entire cast nailed the Bahston sound.
Stars: 2.5 out of 5
Do before the movie: Watch What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands, and Chocolat --after watching Depp as Bulger, you'll see the true range of his talent.