Take a Drink: whenever you hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s awful Boston accent.
Take a Drink: every time someone is killed on-screen.
Do a Shot: for Boston.
Take a Drink: every time you see Jai Alai played.
Do a Shot: for those piercing baby blue eyes.
By: Frankie B. (Three Beers) –
Johnny Depp has had an interesting go of it lately. His last three movies, Mortdecai, Transcendence, and The Lone Ranger, have been certified bombs at the box office. But it seems as though he always gets people amped up when he has a new project in the works. This seems to be the case with Black Mass. Johnny Depp playing another legendary mobster (Whitey Bulger) seems like a sure thing after his portrayal of John Dillinger.
Black Mass tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger and his rise to power in the Boston underworld. His rise to prominence began in the late 1970’s and hit his peak of power in the late 1980’s. His alliance with the FBI through Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) allowed for this rise to power. Also, having a brother (Benedict Cumberbatch) that is a State Senator probably did not hurt.
The supporting cast outclasses the headliner in this one. This might not be a popular opinion, but if you see the movie, you’ll understand. Joel Edgerton is killing it right now, with a hit directorial debut this year (The Gift) and Black Mass showcasing his best acting work to date. He snags the movie from Depp in almost every way with a scene-stealing performance. Jesse Plemons, David Harbour, Rory Cochrane, W. Earl Brown- all turn in stellar performances.
The movie is also not afraid of showing the main character commit horrible acts of violence. This adds to the “realism” of the movie and adds a bit of grittiness to an otherwise slick film. I also need to mention the brief appearance by Dakota Johnson as Whitey Bulger’s girlfriend. The lady shows that she can actually act and that is wonderful considering her rather cardboard-like performance in Fifty Shades of Gray.
Johnny Depp might have gone a little too over the top with this performance and that is saying a lot considering he has been playing a more cartoonish version of Captain Jack Sparrow in his last dozen movies. He played Bulger as a sort of sociopath that could snap at a moment’s notice and had no qualms about killing anyone who stood in his way. By all accounts that is not how Bulger acted, but that is what you get when most of the real-life people your movie is about won’t cooperate with you. Also, those baby blue eyes might be the most distracting thing in the film. Every time there is a close up of Johnny Depp all the focus goes to his eyes. They just look unnatural on his face.
I feel as though Benedict Cumberbatch looked at videos of drunk fans filing out of Fenway Park to craft his Bostonian accent for this. He seems to break his accent almost every other sentence and the accent he did craft is pretty awful. It reminded me of Jimmy Fallon’s memorable Boston accent from Saturday Night Live.
There have been many mobster movies in history that are more memorable than this one. It also never helps when the subject matter you are portraying has been done better almost half a dozen times. See this if you are mobster movie obsessed or are looking for a good Johnny Depp performance.