Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Black Mass Could Have Been Way Bettah

Eh.  That sums it up.  The highly anticipated crime drama Black Mass directed by Scott Cooper was good but ultimately, could have been significantly better.  Living in the Boston area, everyone and their mothah was wicked excited about the movie about South Bawston’s own Whitey Bulgah.  Many in this area have vivid memories of the notorious crime boss and his penchant for violence.  After the media storm surrounding his capture and trial in 2011, it made sense for Hollywood to cash in and the result is a film that follows all the standard “mafia movie” tropes.  As a result, the movie comes across as an amalgam of themes, scenes, and dialog that feels straight out of BETTER organized crime dramas of the past.  That being said, the film is essentially a story about the character of Whitey Bulger – a man whose brutality has become myth.  In this respect, it was well done.  Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Bulger while over the top at times felt authentic and conveyed the deep seated madness behind the family man from Southie.  Regardless, you’re always aware that it’s Johnny Depp (the problem with such recognizable actors) and you’re even more aware that Depp’s accent is false.  Given, he does a pretty phenomenal job as fake Boston accents go but it’s still a hurdle to get over that distracts you from the dialog (which admittedly has its ups and downs).  Supporting actors Benedict Cumberbatch as Billy Bulger and Joel Edgerton as dirty cop John Connolly are shadowed by Depp and feel almost unnecessary.  It would have been nice to focus solely on Bulger himself and not get bogged down with the story of Connolly’s role in getting Bulger set up as an informant for the FBI.  Overall, the film was OK but disappointing in that it could have been great.

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