Black Mass

"Johnny Depp does career-best work as notorious Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger in Scott Cooper's taut, elegantly understated crime drama." - Variety

"Ice-cold. Dead eyes. Demonic laugh. His face a mask you can't read until he's up in yours. Then run. That's Johnny Depp giving everything he's got in a riveting, rattlesnake performance as South Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger in Black Mass. The FBI finally grabbed this Osama bin Laden of gangsters in 2011. The Irish mobster had been hiding in plain sight since 1994. Now 86, Bulger molders in prison, found guilty of 11 of the 19 murders with which he'd been charged.

"Jack Nicholson did a fictional take on Bulger in 2006's Oscar-winning 'The Departed'. 'Black Mass', smartly directed by Scott Cooper, is based on the 2000 book 'Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob', by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill.

"Bulger had known FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) from the Boston hood. It's Connolly who persuades his fellow Southie to turn FBI informant in return for help in crushing the Italian Mob. Bulger got the best of that deal, leaving the FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) fuming. Edgerton excels at detailing the dread eating at Connolly; the dread also infects his ethical wife, Marianne (a superb Julianne Nicholson), whose quiet scene with Depp instills more terror than a hail of bullets.

"Complicating matters is Bulger’s brother, Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), a powerful politician who, of course, is aware of what his older sibling is up to. But to what extent?

"There's hardcore power in Depp's performance and in the film's portrait of moral rot on both sides of the law. If there's such a thing as a wild ride into the heart of darkness, this is it." - Rolling Stone


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