Poor Johnny Depp. An incredible actor who has spent the past few years headlining pictures such as Mortdecai, Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, and Dark Shadows. At this point, you just have to feel bad for the guy.
Now here comes Black Mass. Depp, under 80 pounds of makeup and a hardly recognizable voice, plays the infamous Whitey Bulger in the late 70’s into the 80’s where he was acting as an informant to the FBI to take down a rival Mafia family.
He’s not a bumbling buffoon, a godly computer, a creepy Indian, or a clueless vampire. Depp is a menacing gangster, who can cause you to pee your pants if you spill the family’s marinade recipe. And as long as Depp continues to take himself seriously, so will just about everybody else in the world who misses the ol’ chap.
Black Mass is worth a watch just to see Depp knock it out of the park for the first time in years. But instead of running out and dropping $10 on a ticket, you’ll be infinitely happier if you hold out a couple of months to rent it.
For as much as I would’ve liked a definitive Bulger biopic, instead director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) and writers Jez Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow, Get on Up) and Mark Mallouk sloppily threw together this bland film.
Black Mass is two hours of a bunch of guys in suits throwing names around and getting mad at each other with the occasional gruesome murder thrown in to wake you up.
The story will appeal to anybody with an interest in crime, which makes it all the more depressing that the dialogue is what truly kills this film. My god is this movie generic. Whenever a character opens their mouth, and whatever jargon Butterworth and Mallouk cooked up comes bursting out, don’t be surprised if your mind drifts off elsewhere. Like I said, the story is great, but it’s so difficult to listen to these characters when everything they’re saying sounds like it’s been said before a million times by a million different people. There’s a complete lack of personality.
Speaking of a million different people and lack of personality, have fun juggling the absurd amount of characters here. Yes, it’s history and there’s a lot of heads in this particular game, but when the characters are about as generic as the dialogue, you’ll pick out the expendable ones that will cause eyerolls when they return to the screen.
A hell of a cast was thrown together. Aside from Depp there’s Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Juno Temple, and Dakota Johnson. Scott Cooper and the cast do a fine enough job with the script, but with Depp acing the only juicy character, the movie suffers without his presence.
Johnny Depp and the makeup crew put the best Whitey Bulger they could on the screen, but they received just about no help from an incredibly generic script.