HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Night Trap
Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon
Benediction
Nezha Reborn
Evil Toons
Worst Person in the World, The
Whirlpool
Hunter Will Get You
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Revolver
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Faye
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Saint-Narcisse
Souvenir Part II, The
Knockabout
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
   
 
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
   
 
  Black Mass Lost In Boston
Year: 2015
Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, W. Earl Brown, Bill Camp, Juno Temple, Brad Carter
Genre: BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Boston hoodlum Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) was on the FBI's Most Wanted List for years thanks to his criminal activities, but his involvement in crime was more damning to the authorities than that may sound. His arrest was demanded after two former associates, Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons) and Stephen Flemmi (Rory Cochrane) gave evidence in return for lenient sentences, and Weeks started off by telling of how he became involved with Bulger, basically when he was a doorman for his bar and got into trouble with one of the gangster's family members, leading to a fight in the street. But rather than punish him, Bulger liked his chutzpah and welcomed him into his circle of hoodlums, who included some powerful men...

The list of real life gangster tales was increased yet again by this biography of one of the most influential of his kind, in yet another example of the movies' indictment of the past in the twenty-first century, a trend where it had become very fashionable to look back on society and condemn it for allowing various instances of severe lawbreaking to be gotten away with either by mishandling, ignorance or deliberate cover ups. In this case, Black Mass was taken seriously as a film because it was regarded as Johnny Depp finally setting aside all his more recent silly roles and getting his teeth into something more dramatic to really prove what he was capable of. As far as that went, he was undeniably impressive.

Even so, he was slathered under layers of makeup to make him resemble the real man he was playing, who he didn't especially look too much like, so to convey a half decent performance under that lot and not allow the makeup to do the acting for him was an achievement in itself. But those who had stuck with Depp through thick and thin were well aware he didn't become a star because of a bunch of over the top and campy pantomimes, so would be less surprised, if no less welcoming, to view his stylings here. As far as being true to the actual Bulger, opinions were divided, and it was true the film drastically simplified what was a complex tale of multiple misdemeanours, with director Scott Cooper less relying on the everyday banality of the crimes and more turning it into what looked like a horror movie.

Fair enough, with all those victims being murdered it was an unavoidably grisly yarn, and we didn't even see the whole tally of those who died though we did see enough to be in little doubt Bulger was a dangerous man. But then again, the film goes further to point out it was men like him who were actually running America, indeed the world, as they not only commanded their own empires but had their octopus-like tentacles in a number of institutions and organisations, from terrorists to the supposed law enforcers. Benedict Cumberbatch was improbably cast as Bulger's senator brother who is rather too close to his sibling, and Joel Edgerton was the FBI official John Connolly who was all too keen to consolidate his sense of power by taking on Bulger as an informant, positing he was a low level gangster, then obscuring his actual atrocities as Bulger orchestrated various illegal but incredibly lucrative schemes.

An oppressive mood was unavoidable, and Cooper underlined that by the inclusion of the women in these men's lives, who are each and every one intimidated, threatened and in some cases killed off to keep them in line. Although the focus was on the males, the females suffered mightily as a result, and they became the stand-ins for the cost of such an insidious degree of criminality, from the distraught mother of Bulger's son (Dakota Johnson) to the terrified wife of Connolly (Julianne Nicholson) and more, no matter that they thought they were respected in their home town of Boston; they were not, it was a climate of fear that they were propagating. Nevertheless, for all these sinister machinations Black Mass sought to shine a light on, it remained a murky proposition where you rightly felt you were not getting as full a picture as a two hour movie could deliver, and with scene after scene shot in the same crepuscular gloom it did grow monotonous early on, a tone that did not quite lift. Add to that the feeling that other gangster movies had beaten it to the punch, and this was absorbing enough without really being inspiring, in spite of some fine acting. Music by Junkie XL.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2923 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed
   

 

Last Updated: