While the leaves begin to change colors and the temperatures drop a bit, Hollywood offerings tend to heat up. This is the very beginning of the Awards season, and Johnny Depp’s new film “Black Mass,” comes out of the starting gate and maintains speed and finishes with a big win!
Before discussing the incredible performances, here is a bit of back story. The film takes place in 1970’s South Boston, where the streets are filled with crime and Italian and Irish mobsters seem to be consistently going “mano-a-mano,” in search of turf.
James “Whitey” Bulger is the most notorious of mobsters with incredible connections as his brother Bill, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a Massachusetts Senator, and his childhood friend John Connally, played by Joel Edgerton, is an FBI operative, looking for ways to fight crime with the help of “Whitey.”
The true story unfolds with reminders of such films as “The Departed,” and “Good Fellas,” whereby you become completely entrenched in the story and have to find yourself backing off before you feel emotions for the characters, who are mostly not good guys.
“Black Mass,” is directed by Scott Cooper, who is brilliant behind the camera on so many different, levels ( and directed such films as ” Crazy Heart,” with Jeff Bridges), and it has been quite some time since I’ve seen such delicate direction in a film that is an incredible rollercoaster of emotion and crime. He captures every nuance of the 1970’s beautifully.
Everyone is talking about Johnny Depp, and now it’s my turn. His performance is flawless, and without seeing anything else this year, he must be forgiven for career missteps and the Pirate stereotypes, because he is a brilliant actor.
First of all, he undergoes such a physical transformation where one almost cannot recognize him. He is balding with a blond receding
hairline with blue eyes and is paunchy, and he carries it off as if it is “all him!” Depp is powerful and gritty and believable, and there is a scene in a restaurant, ( no spoiler alert), whereby his performance is simply stunning and leaves you trembling. This film takes him “out of the box.”
His co-stars are equally compelling, including the amazing portrayal of the Senator by Benedict Cumberbatch, and Joel Edgerton ( who I had to look up on iMDB), who is brilliant as John Connally, the FBI official working to get Whitey to become not so much an informant, but a guide to the Italian Mafia. His performance is simply perfect.
The timeline, the story, the performances and all make this film one that you will not forget. “Black Mass,” will be on everyone’s list come awards time. I know it will be on mine!