Written by / 9/18/2015 / 1 Comment / , , , ,

JOHNNY DEPP IN BLACK MASS

year: 2015
For the many who think Johnny Depp is the end-all of acting, well here's some good news... He begins and finishes BLACK MASS with not only a physical transition into Boston crime lord James "Whitey" Bulger, but his eyes are penetrating, evil, and best yet, creepy as hell...

One effectively spooky scene, where he kind of threatens a cohort's wife, turns MASS from a crime genre ala Martin Scorsese, including a groovy Rolling Stones track during a montage of violent money-making, into a sinister horror flick where the subliminal power of implied evil exceeds the often gratuitous violence, an obvious attempt to push the GOODFELLAS envelope even further:

In fact, there's one intentionally awkward moment where Depp turns the table (literally sitting at a dinner table), and you can almost hear him say, "Do I look funny to you... like a clown?"

Movie Score: ***
Actually, he resembles MATRIX actor Joe Pantoliano combined with political advisor James Carville... yet that makeup isn't one bit distracting. And Depp aside, an equal amount of screen time belongs to Joel Edgerton as FBI agent John Connolly: Having grown up a South Boston "Southie" with Bulger, their lifelong friendship and crooked business relationship moves the story from backroom conversations into blood-drenched boulevards. Unfortunately, with so many sudden deaths, there aren't enough explanations as to why each victim sleeps with the fishes. After a while, the entire film seems like a collection of ultra-violence with bouts of seedy dialogue and family melodrama.

Perhaps if centered more deeply on a few important deals to make the victims mean more than an overall body count, BLACK MASS could be, like its cinematic predecessors, more of a pointed, personal mob character-study than a vague biopic of a really bad dude breaking rules on either side of the law. In that, Depp does play deadly and nefarious with sublime perfection. But he deserved a slightly better movie to really shine.
The Anonymous tip wasn't really: it was former actress beauty queen Anna Bjorn who got Whitey captured
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1 comment:

  1. I'm going Tuesday to see this. Another great review. Since I've read about and watched various docs on his life I figured I'd read your review before I saw it.

    Ugh, I'm going blind, such a small font. More and more sites I have to crank up the size or zoom in so my vision doesn't freak out. Less time on the interwebs is a good thing though.

    Keep up the great work.

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