Joel Edgerton as FBI agent John Connolly and Johnny Depp as crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger star in Black Mass.

Reel Reviews: Depp transforms to play mob boss

Black Mass is probably one of Johnny Depp’s finest performances.

  • Sep. 27, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Black Mass is based on the true story of James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp), a notorious gangster, brother of Massachusetts state senator William Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch), and FBI informant.

Black Mass is set in Boston in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, when Bulger, with help from his childhood friend and now FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), tried to clean up the streets for their advantage and control.

Gun smuggling,  racketeering, drug dealing, and murder are just a few of the things the two of them must cover up, and the small fact that Bulger and Connolly want to get rid of the local Italian mafia family that live down the road.

Bulger was also on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list until he was caught in June 2011, eluding authorities for 16 years.

We say, “This is probably one of Depp’s finest performances.”

HOWE: Mr. Taylor is on the Highway to Hell to see AC/DC this week and left it up to me to watch Black Mass. I think he will be a little upset that he didn’t get to see it.

We have had a few true story movies these last few weeks: Straight Outta Compton and Love and Mercy to name a few, which were both fantastic. But does Black Mass, with its huge array of talent at its disposal, stand up with them?

The short answer is yes.

Depp is transformed, and I am not just talking about his appearance, into Bulger’s character, even going as far as saying that he has to be up there on this year’s Oscar list.

Edgerton also plays his role very well  as the FBI agent who tries to cover their tracks, and Cumberbatch, well we all know he is one of the best actors out there at the moment.

The story itself, even though some are saying is a little out of sync with some of the timelines of the true story, is very interesting. It delves into Bulger’s personal life, the deaths of his son and mother, the relationship and bond between friends growing up together in South Boston, and how he was able to elude the police and FBI for so long.

So with saying that, grab your pop, choose your candy and go see Depp as you have never seen him before.

Howe gives Black Mass 4 Christmas trees out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.


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