Black Mass - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Black Mass Reviews

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April 24, 2019
A brutally violent biopic that depicts Boston's Irish mob with vivid detail.

Scott Cooper's Black Mass (2015) is a gripping crime drama that uses stunning cinematography and creative direction to startle the viewer with sudden kills and vicious intimidation. Cooper reveals FBI corruption and mobster organization down the grunts. Black Mass is particularly interesting for demonstrating issues on both sides of the law. I really enjoyed the informative recreations of Whitey Bulger's crimes, while portraying the people shown as real and flawed.

Johnny Depp is fascinating as the quiet killer mastermind Whitey Bulger. He captures the devoted twisted father and the adoring devastated son as well as the vicious and manipulative observer. Bulger's willingness to openly trick his associates and lie to their faces is horrifying. He could kill anyone at anytime and Black Mass portrays this perfectly.

Joel Edgerton is sublime as the sleazy FBI agent John Connelly. His corruption is evident from his actions, but Edgerton goes further and condemns the man for his lies and covering up Bulger's crimes. He completely engages you as he spews off spin and rhetoric to talk away Bulger's murders.

Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent as the silent brother and Senate presence William Bulger. His understated support for Bulger is interesting. Cumberbatch plays it cool and calculated against Depp and Edgerton.

Dakota Johnson is gripping emotionally as Bulger's girlfriend Lindsey Cyr. Her pleas for her son and for any humanity or decency from Bulger are amazing. I think Black Mass contains some of Johnson's best work as an actress.

Jesse Plemons is gruff and eager to please as Bulger's henchman Kevin Weeks. Rory Cochrane as Stephen Flemmi is somber and quiet, but always a frightening presence. His character arc keeps getting darker as Black Mass goes on with his depravity.

As for the rest of Black Mass' formidable cast, I think they served their purpose, but do not stand out as much as the aforementioned. Julianne Nicholson, Adam Scott, David Harbour, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, and Juno Temple all have their moments, but get outshined by Depp.

I do think that Black Mass' 2 hour running time feels longer as the pace is glacial, but does give you time to think about each character as they appear. Black Mass is a slow burn for me, but could come across as dull for other audience members.

Overall, Johnny Depp's intense performance of steely nature with his cool blue contact eyes make for a compelling display. Depp alongside Cooper's riveting direction and thoughtful depictions make Black Mass elevated from a solid biopic and crime movie to a great film!
March 27, 2019
I really did enjoy this movie, even though it gives you a sad feeling after watching it. It is a little explicit with the killings and crimes that Bulger committed, but it educates people on what really happened in the city of Boston. This movie is definitely not for kids.
January 27, 2019
Well worth a watch if you like your Mafia movies especially as it is based on real life events.
½ December 4, 2018
Anyone who knows of Johnny Depp knows him for his phenomenal acting. In the movie Black Mass he takes on the role of James ‚Whitey‚? Bulger. While watching this you can easily get lost in the movie and forget it is a Johnny Depp film. The way he portrayed this role is truly terrifying. Black Mass, a film based on the mobster ‚Whitey‚?, taking place in South Boston is incredibly intense as the actors take on their roles of such violent crime involved people. In order to fulfill such a strong role in character Depp changed almost everything about himself. Depp does it all from ‚Whitey‚(TM)s‚? piercing blue eyes, stained teeth and eerie smile. They used prosthetics to come up with the perfect combination of both Depp and ‚Whitey‚? to bring an effect to the movie only Depp could achieve. The actor also chose to alter his voice which only brought more to the film. This film like all of Depp‚(TM)s work only just shows there is so much he can do, he shows almost no emotion through the whole film and makes you believe he is stone cold heartless. Although there are many great actors in this film none of which can compare to the way Depp took his role. Johnny Depp‚(TM)s acting in this film was brought to a level only Depp himself could fulfill. This dark and compelling film takes you into the world of the mobsters life and gives you a better understanding of their ways.
October 3, 2018
This could be a good movie. But unfortunately it wasn't. Johnny Depp was great though!
½ September 17, 2018
Johnny Depp in his most vicious performance. This is a different kind of gangster pic, it takes place in a more modern era for once, but it also switches back and forth, as well as forward, in time. But it's an ambitious and very interesting flick, with great performances, plenty of brutal violence and Joel Edgerton is very compelling in this movie. And it seems to stick close to the true story, which is even fancier. Overall, this is a good crime film to have come out in recent years. Recommended !!
August 13, 2018
He's scary in this one.
July 30, 2018
I don't know why this got so many bad reviews this is my favorite movie and it's only been out for three years
July 20, 2018
This movie starts off strong when introducing the character of a young man who is accepted into 'Whiteys' gang after proving himself worthy. Once feeling as if this character is worth investing emotions into he is completely forgotten along with many of the other introduced characters. Pacing is slow and clunky which inevitably dampens a great Johnny Depp performance as the tension between characters is built with the quality acting continues to inevitably falls flat due to a somewhat sloppy and/or poorly executed script leaving this movie as one not worth spending time or money on.
July 5, 2018
Strengths: When on, Johnny Depp (James "Whitey" Bulger) can be one of the most dynamic actors on the planet. While this isn't among the best performances he's ever given, it is a strong, chilling portrayal of a real life crime boss. The tone set throughout this film really fits, as you get a gritty feel for almost everything that happens. The cinematography is a highlight. In a smaller role than expected, Jesse Plemons (Kevin Weeks) does very well.

Weaknesses: Joel Edgerton (John Connolly) is usually very good in nearly every role he takes on. Unfortunately, this is a rare miss. He's very forgettable, just like the character he's playing. Benedict Cumberbatch (William Bulger) tries and does okay, but his Boston accent is pretty rough. The script doesn't feel like it knows what to do with the characters involved or how to tell the story properly. It's as if the writers saw snippets of what made similar crime movies work and they didn't pay enough attention on how to structure it. It's also hard to fully set up proper character arcs when telling a true story, but here, nobody really grows or learns anything. Even the eventual hero in the story, Carey Stoll's Fred Wyshak, doesn't show up until late enough to feel like a hero.

Overall: Considering the performance of Johnny Depp and the premise behind the movie, I'd have to consider this a big disappointment. The script fails them, as do the performances of some of the supporting cast.
June 19, 2018
Third-time director, Scott Cooper, gets no help from his Oscar-worthy actors in improving the horrendous dialogue co-written by first-time writer, Mark Mallouk. Subject matter this interesting should never be left to such hacks. This is two hours and two minutes of pure boredom telling a story that shouldn't be remotely this dull. Depp is trying. Hard. But his performance (and makeup, for that matter) seems forced. There are several scenes, specifically the ones with Depp and Dakota Johnson and Depp and Julianne Nicholson, that are unnecessarily long, with uncomfortably cringe-worthy dialogue that is offensive to actors of this caliber. Even Kevin Bacon, who tends to steal every scene he has when he cameos in movies, is equally as boring and unbelievable in his role. There are countless scenes that mean absolutely nothing to the story. There are countless behaviors that are meant to define "Whitey," yet are inconsistent depending on the character, and when said characters aren't treated the way "Whitey" is meant to act, the characters inexplicably disappear with no explanation as to what happened to them. For a story that is rooted in truth, it frequently makes no sense. This movie could have been done so much better, but in this form, isn't worth the viewing.
June 9, 2018
I feel the more interesting movie would be all the stuff that happened before this movie takes place.
May 7, 2018
wanted to see since the first trailer so had high expectations, found it below par compared to similar films, worth see for johnny depp performance. RE. 3.5-4
May 3, 2018
Johnny Depp's serious portrayal as a Boston Mob boss makes this a violent and chilling story... unfortunately this isn't enough to save it from being crushed by the mass of cliche and unoriginal content the movie suffers from.
May 1, 2018
The film leaves a lot of blank spaces and concentrates only on the most memorable moments of the crime life of Bulger. It think it is mostly due to length. The film has a limited time. A whole miniserie could be dedicated to the more complete story of Bulger and the mafia take of Boston with more details. It will likely be done because there are lots of lessons in it. For what it is, this film gives plenty.
½ March 20, 2018
Slow PLOT WISE and sound mixing in the production is poor. Depp hams it up like a PANTOMIME dame. very DISAPPOINTING.
½ March 19, 2018
Black Mass looked promising with its stellar cast and the look of the film but it wasn't any good. You forget that it's Johnny Depp under all that make up!
February 22, 2018
Great true story of one of America's vilest criminals. Johnny Depp does a phenomenal job channeling Whitey Bulger. The movie is interesting and entertaining throughout. It's a compelling and sad story of Bulger's rise in the criminal world.
January 15, 2018
A little slow, but still enjoyable. Depp does a nice job.
January 13, 2018
before we start..

Black Mass

There is enough darkness in the lead character to give you goosebumps as you cringe yourself on the seat and luckily Johnny justifies it as he empowers each and every actor and character in this throwback of 70-80's old gangsta drama.
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