Black Mass is based on the true story of Whitey Bulger, who became a very powerful organized crime leader with the "help" of the FBI. This has great cast, and is a well written piece, but it does get off to a very slow start in its two hour run.
Johnny Depp plays Bulger, and is very good in this large role, and one that is very different for him. Depp plays a character and not a caricature, and pulls is of nicely. This also boasts great actors like Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Sarsgaard. All of our principles are solid, and there is also a very strong supporting cast behind them.
This takes place over about a 15 year period where Bulger came to power with the help of the Boston FBI. One of the main agents in that office was a childhood friend of Bulger and makes a deal with Bulger to be an informant for the FBI, to take down the Boston Italian Mafia. Which they do. Problem is, two agents within the Bureau turn a HUGE blind eye to Bulger and his gang over a long period of time and Bulger becomes very powerful and basically has a free pass to rob, extort and kill anyone he wants.
Well, clearly all things have to end and the noose tightens on Bulger and the FBI. So what happens in the end? How does this all play out for one of the biggest gangsters in US history, and the Boston FBI?
This movie absolutely staggers out of the gate and being honest, is very disjointed at the beginning. You have no real sense of where this is going and that's a problem. But as this goes on, and more characters are developed and introduced this becomes far more interesting and entertaining. This movie does not glorify Bulger, in fact is shows you just how brutal he really was. And how insanely corrupt Boston politics and rogue Federal Agents can be.
But being fair, this does get better as it goes along, but this is an opportunity missed of sorts. It can only climb as high as being good, when everything is there for this to be great. This is a nice comeback for Depp, but this will go down as just another decent movie in a year that average and decent are the rules of the day so far.
Black Mass. Good, not great.