These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to feel when this movie came to my attention. I’m not exactly a Johnny Depp fan, at least not when he’s being over the top and weird… which is pretty much his entire résumé. But I really liked him in FINDING NEVERLAND and, like everyone else, I enjoy him as Jack Sparrow in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies, even if the first one is the only good one. I was looking at BLACK MASS like, alright, Depp’s going to be weird, but in a way that seems more grounded and realistic rather than for the sake of being weird. But on the flip side of this coin, I’ve seen THE DEPARTED. How many more mobster movies do we need to see in this day and age? Alliances between mobsters and corrupt law enforcement isn’t new. But fuck it, the cast is pretty impressive, I’m seeing it for them alone. Plus, I’m starting to consider myself a Joel Edgerton fan. So what do I think of this movie?
Starring: Johnny Depp (SHERLOCK GNOMES , MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS , YOGA HOSERS , and upcoming CITY OF LIES  and FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD ) and Joel Edgerton (GRINGO , IT COMES AT NIGHT , MIDNIGHT SPECIAL , THE GIFT , and upcoming films BOY ERASED  and STINGRAY )
Support: Dakota Johnson (FIFTY SHADES FREED  and DARKER , HOW TO BE SINGLE , and upcoming films BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE  and SUSPIRIA ), Jesse Plemons (GAME NIGHT , HOSTILES , BRIDGE OF SPIES , and the upcoming THE IRISHMAN ), David Harbour (SLEEPLESS , SUICIDE SQUAD , and the upcoming HELLBOY ), Corey Stoll (THE SEAGULL , GOLD , CAFÉ SOCIETY , ANT-MAN , MIDNIGHT IN PARIS , and upcoming films FIRST MAN  and DRIVEN ), and Kevin Bacon (PATRIOTS DAY  and THE DARKNESS )
Director: Scott Cooper (HOSTILES)
Writer: Mark Mallouk (debut; congrats, sir) and Jez Butterworth (SPECTRE )
Composer: Junkie XL (TOMB RAIDER , THE DARK TOWER , DEADPOOL , POINT BREAK , and the upcoming ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL )
Cinematographer: Masanobu Takayanagi (HOSTILES and SPOTLIGHT )
Editor: David Rosenbloom (THE INFILTRATOR )
This is my honest opinion of: BLACK MASS
Based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, the story follows Jimmy Bulger (Johnny Depp) and his eventual alliance with FBI agent John Connelly (Joel Edgerton), and how to two bring an end to a rival mafia group and Bulger gaining more power, eventually leading to his downfall.
FUN FACT: Apparently, Johnny Depp has stated that this is his favorite film he’s ever done.
I actually kind of liked this film. I don’t think it’s anything I haven’t seen before, but for the most part, the reason why I saw this movie was NOT a let-down: the performances.
Alright, to all you fanboys and girls out there that GUSH over Depp, yes, he’s great in this movie. He oozes with despicable-ness and creepiness, but maintains an air of intimidation. There’s no point in the movie where you don’t want to see something awful happen to this bastard of a character, but you’re pretty invested in what he does and you want to see how the FBI is going to nail Jimmy to the wall. It’s pretty tense since you know that John is feeding Jimmy information.
As I said, the actors are what drew me in. Although, I have to ask why certain actors are credited on the posters, even though most don’t have more than fifteen minutes of screen time. Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll, barely in the film, yet they get top billing alongside Edgerton, who’s in the movie nonstop. Kind of a shame, but hey, what they bring, they bring everything.
Like I said, the story isn’t anything surprising, and I’m pretty jaded on the violence, nothing to write home about. About the most interesting thing regarding the film is how inconsistent the behind-the-scenes stuff is. Like, the director brought in old associates as consultants to keep Depp’s performance honest, which apparently paid off. Those sources said that Depp’s performance was spot on. Funny enough, Bulger’s closest associates, such as Kevin Weeks said, “My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron. I look like I have Down syndrome.” [the Daily Beast]. Interesting stuff.
Look, I never see movies that are “based on a true story” and hold it to any real validation. I see these movies as more of an awareness-maker. It’s about informing the world that this stuff happened, but take the information that the movie feeds you with a grain of salt. There’s no telling how much is dramatized, or fictional, or true. In this case, I never knew there was a dude named James “Whitey” Bulger. I’m a Calabasas kid, I don’t have real problems like South Boston seems to. I came in to see great actors give great performances and that’s exactly what I got.
My honest rating for BLACK MASS: 4/5