Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Black Mass (4 Stars)

This is the true story of the American gangster James Bulger. He's described as the most notorious American gangster of the 1970's, but I confess to never having heard of him. He was the head of the Winter Hill gang which ruled over the south half of Boston. The rest was controlled by an Italian crime family, the Angiulo Brothers. Despite some tension the two gangs work together.

An FBI agent called John Connolly is determined to wipe out the Mafia in Boston, so he enlists Bulger's aid as an informant in return for protecting him from arrest. At first Bulger considers this unethical -- honour among thieves -- but then he sees it as an opportunity to extend his territory and take over all of Boston. As time passes a close friendship develops between Bulger and Connolly.

After a series of disappointing roles Johnny Depp has finally succeeding in impressing me. The character of James Bulger is unpleasant, but Johnny Depp plays it to perfection. However, I think he is upstaged by Joel Edgerton, whose performance as John Connolly strongly reminds me of Harvey Keitel in his younger years. Benedict Cumberbatch is excellent, as always, as James Bulger's brother Billy, but his role in the film is relatively unimportant.

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