Black Mass (2015)

Review by CJ


Scott Cooper

Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch

Other notable appearances:
Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Adam Scott, David Harbour, Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll

Running time:
123 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, Bridge of Spies, Public Enemies


Inspired by the true story of James “Whitey” Bulger — informant to the FBI, Irish mobster and leader of the Winter Hill Gang in South Boston, and brother of a state senator.

There aren’t many on-screen roles that Johnny Depp doesn’t play perfectly. Black Mass is no exception. Depp’s portrayal of Irish mafioso Whitey Bulger is exceptional. He bounces from affable to menacing to downright psychotic and back again with his seemingly effortless signature style.

I found it fascinating listening to the Boston accents in Black Mass. While most of the main cast was comprised of Americans, I knew there was also an Australian and a Briton in the mix. Yet despite knowing this, I found the Boston accents to be remarkably convincing.

Joel Edgerton’s performance as wayward FBI agent John Connolly was great to watch. I had only seen Edgerton in Exodus: Gods and Kings before and that film was painfully unimpressive. In Black Mass though, Edgerton impresses as his character struggles to juggle his love for his wife and current career with his loyalty to childhood idols.

Black Mass manages something that not a lot of crime films get right. You are shown most of the events from the perspective of the criminals, yet I never felt like their crimes or they themselves were being glorified. I never wanted the film version of Whitey Bulger to get away or to win.

Overall Black Mass is a fascinating insight into the world of Boston’s Irish Mafia as portrayed by a stellar cast. If you enjoy mob or true crime films and want one with a heavy dose of realism, Black Mass is worth checking out.

4 Stars

“Like it or not, Marriane, you married a street kid. And the streets taught me that you give and you get loyalty from your friends. And loyalty means a lot to me.”

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