Thursday, October 08, 2015

In 'Black Mass', Johnny Depp Wants to Remind Everyone That He's a Terrific Actor

Black Mass is a crime drama based on the life of real-life Irish gangster, James “Whitey” Bulger.  It chronicles the events on how Jimmy (played by Johnny Depp) was persuaded by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) on becoming an informant against the Italian Mafia in engage for protection, and how he exploited the arrangement to rise from being a street hoodlum into one of the biggest, most notorious crime kingpin in American history.

The thing I liked most about this movie is the excellent performances from its ensemble cast – which includes the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Corey Stoll, Jess Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, and Dakota Johnson.  But the most mesmerizing performance is, of course, from Johnny Depp as Jimmy Bulger.

Depp has always been one of the best actors in the business, but with the streak of questionable role choices in awful films, people have somewhat forgotten.  There’s actually more to him than playing weird, eccentric roles behind make-up and prosthetics.  Sure, he wears make-up and prosthetics in this film, too, but this time, his character is someone that needs to be taken seriously, and Depp did a fine job in delivering a gripping, layered portrayal.  It’s really nice to be reminded that no matter how awesome a character Captain Jack Sparrow is, Johnny Depp’s depth and talent are not limited to such roles.

As for the movie itself, Black Mass is pretty good, but not great.  Effort has been noticeably put on the production value and the narrative is sufficiently interesting, but the movie doesn’t really have much sophistication and uniqueness.  That said, though Black Mass isn’t exactly Goodfellas, it still holds as a riveting mob tale.  Plus, we can finally see Johny Depp be great on screen again.  

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