Black Mass

Black Mass

3.1 205 Ratings

Directed by : Scott Cooper

Release Date :

  • Critics Rating 3.5/5
  • MJ Rating 2.9/5
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In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become ...more


“Black Mass carries the right class!”

Black Mass Audience Review

Johnny Depp excels as gangster in Boston of 70s and 80s in this docudrama of raw intensity

| by Madan Mohan Marwah |
Rated 3.0 / 5
| See all my reviews

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 Heavy content with excessive dialogue makes this long winded and slow film a difficult watch for the average cinegoer. Cinegoers who are into this genre made famous by such films like "The departed" and "Godfather", may however love this film since it is shot in a similar style. This is one of those films which you either love or hate but cannot ignore it for the raw intensity and the realistic depiction of the life of those times. The style, mood, presentation and substance of the film is like a typical Scorsese film with DiCaprio.

The film is a docudrama and a biopic which covers the rise of Irish gangster Jimmy Bulger in the streets of Boston and faithfully captures the political-law enforcement-gangster -journalist equation where eliminating enemies ruthlessly was an everyday affair.  Bulger is tempted by friend (an  FBI agent) to help bring down the Italian mob. It does not help Jimmy that his brother is a senator. After some dirty deals, and sinister cold blooded killings, the story ends with the arrest of the major players but Jimmy manages to evade arrest for some more years till he is finally tracked down and arrested.

Director Scott Cooper has given the film an honest intensity which might not go too well with some sections of the audience. Scenes of killing of solo victims in different ways are indeed gruesome. So Cooper’s camera follows the killer till he fires the shot and then the camera tracks back with him, all of it in some seconds making the viewer a part of the crime. Surely lyrical voyeurism in cinema  which the serious cinegoer might applaud. The camera also moves to capture the anguished expression of  Jimmy’s fellow hoodlum as Jimmy continues to perform one more killing ruthlessly. To tone down the aura of the film, scenes of family life are introduced with dinner table conversations which again turn unpleasant for all.

There is an effective use of close ups in most sequences. There is an extensive use of the F word and its variations which might put off many   A scene done well is when Jimmy tells his infant son that punching a boy's nose when no one else is around is OK since there is no witness, but doing the same thing in public is stupid and will get you in trouble.. (Of course he does not add that this is exactly how he conducts his killings.)

There can be no doubt that this performance by Johnny Depp is one of his best and is likely to fetch him some awards. With some of his hair pulled pulled back over his balding head,evil  eyes and stained teeth his menacing smirk looked convincing. He looks every inch the gangster he potrays. Take away Johnny Depp and the film is almost nothing  Joel Edgerton is good also.. Nothing very special about the acting of other actors like Benedict Cumberbatch who give adequate performances..The cinematography and editing are superb but I found that the background score not effective .