Black Mass (2015)

Black Mass
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Mark Mallouk, Jez Butterworth
Based on: Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill’s book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob
Cast: 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
Seen on: 11.11.2015

Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp) runs one of the more powerful crime syndicates in Boston. But he does have his rivals. That’s when ambitious FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) approaches him. Connolly knows Bulger of old and he’s eager to make a name for himself, so he suggests that Bulger could become a FBI informant. That would give him more freedom in his affairs and it would help Connolly’s career by taking out plenty of bad guys – all of Bulger’s enemies.

Black Mass covers many years. Unfortunately it also feels like it lasts many, many years. It was such a boring film, I ultimately lost the battle against sleep and drifted of for a few minutes in-between.


I tried very hard to stay awake during the film. Very hard. But it was just impossible. I didn’t sleep long, but I couldn’t have brought myself to stay awake a second longer. I hardly know what to say about the film because it made me feel so lethargic and simply bleargh.

Apart from being long and boring, the film wasn’t that bad. Johnny Depp was creepy enough, although I was a little disturbed by the contact lenses he wore. They were too artificial, giving him a disconcerting uncanny valley face which was a weird choice from the filmmakers. As if they didn’t trust their main actor to portray Bulger’s creepiness without aid.

black-mass1The supporting cast was frankly astounding, if entirely wasted because the film focused on Bulger so much. I thought they handled the violence nicely – it wasn’t ungraphic but it was never romanticized in any way (contrary maybe to Bulger himself).

But the film was lacking consistency and a thread the led you through the story. It was told in vignettes and it felt to me that you’d need to know beforehand how things would develop to make all the right connections between the scenes. I didn’t know and for me, there remained some confusion that wouldn’t have been necessary. (The film also lacks women and POCs, but that – unfortunately – comes as no surprise at all.)

But in the end the overwhelming feeling the film evokes is boredom. And that I can do without.

black-mass2Summarizing: Skip it.

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