Driven by Performance Black Mass Delivers

 

“You gotta learn from these things, right? It’s not what you do, it’s when and where you do it and who you do it to or with. If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen.”

James “Whitey” Bulger menacingly gives his 6-year-old son advice. Lindsey Cyr looks worryingly between Bulger and their son, hoping one day Bulger would quit his other job.

“Black Mass” is a biopic of the notorious South Boston crime lord James Bulger. Despite hating the name, he was commonly called Whitey.

Bulger, played by Johnny Depp, is depicted as an older man who shows everyone respect. But he is obviously feared.

Bulger is the boss of an Irish mob called the Winter Hill Gang. As the movie progresses, his descent into darkness is shown as things start falling apart around him. Bulger is then given the opportunity to become an FBI informant.

Being an FBI informant carries great weight for a mobster. If an informant is discovered, it’s likely he will be found dead the next day.

Bulger figures helping the FBI could help him eliminate rival gangs in Boston. It does, and soon his empire expands with him receiving several streams of income.

Depp had delivered standout performances in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Alice in Wonderland”. His role in “Black Mass” should be added to this list of achievements.

In addition to the acting, the raw story of the film is propelled by the cinematography. Whether it aims to add intimacy or intimidation, the establishing shots deliver.

Bulger is introduced at the beginning of the movie with a shot of the mobster grimacing at one of his lackeys consuming beer nuts in a repugnant way. The shot builds tension right before Bulger delivers a lecture on how he’s been watching a man put his germ-infested fingers into a bowl of nuts set out for the public.

This gives viewers an idea of what to expect of Bulger: a madman who is not to be messed with.

With a dark storyline, a well-known cast and great cinematography, “Black Mass” is a must-see for crime and drama lovers.

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