I really enjoy Johnny Depps performances on the big screen, well almost all the time. He has come under some criticism lately for choosing films that he enjoys acting rather than finding a script that will win awards. He often goes for the quirky eccentric parts and some believe this has tainted his career. I think this is nonsense and he has earnt the right to act in whatever film he wants. The only exception I would say was Transcendence which was truly dull.
Depp is a great actor and Black Mass proves once again that he very talented. Donny Brasco is one of my favourite films and Black Mass finds Depp acting on a gangster film, but this time as the evil James “Whitney” Bulger. It is the true story of how James becomes the king Pin of the Boston criminal world. This with the help of an old friend who protects him whilst working in the FBI.
There is violence, murder, drugs and this isn’t for the faint hearted. Depp thins his hair to match the look of this evil man. A man that can do whatever he wants and has no scruples and no loyalty to anyone. He doesn’t live by a code and will sink anyone to try and save his own back. He has no loyalty which makes it easier for those around him to tell all when it comes to it.
Depp is seriously nasty in this role he is ugly in appearance as well his actions. He looks comfortable with a shot gun and in the torture chamber. A person’s performance should be based on whether you see the actor or the character. You lose Depp in this film and only see Bulger which is testament to the performance.
His friend is played by Joel Edgerton who has made quite a career for himself. The first time I saw him was in star wars and playing a few bit parts, but now he is a star in his own right. He plays the slippery FBI agent who has a misguided loyalty to Bulger often through fear. His friendship allows him to move up the ranks and through information helps him take down the mafia boses. The friendship is one sided and Bulger is not as loyal to his friend. There comes a point when the Turning a blind eye just won’t work as Bulger is involved in almost every crime in the city. You see the agent start to break down and become vulnerable. The good life for this rags to riches man is about to fall apart. This is another great performance and one I enjoyed. You could really feel the tension build as the agent starts to panic and the realisation that he is on his own is apparent.
Benedict Cumberbatch is Bulgers brother who is high up in the political realm. This makes life difficult as he feels like he should protect his brother as an example of blood being thicker than water. This is a small part for Cumberbatch although very important in showing how Bulgers relationships work. You do not see the affects of Bulgers crimes on his brother until the end as most of the focus is on Bulger and the agent.
I loved this film and its a great story although terrifying at the same time. It is scary to think that one man got away with such horrific crimes for so long. The performances of all involved are exceptional and this makes for a great film. Definitely one to watch.
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