By Murphy Kenefic, Contributor
I don’t walk out on movies. I’ve debated it before, and I debated it with “Black Mass”. This movie had a lot going for it, but by thirty minutes in, I was bored to death and ready to go.
However, I stuck it out.
Every good review I have read of this film revolves around Johnny Depp’s performance and I totally get it — he is fantastic, by far the best part. But aside from a couple (maybe two) good scenes and impressive framing in the cinematography, this movie is pretty useless. All the characters are practically identical, there is no style, there is nothing surprising or different in the plot or character choices. It’s repetitive, slow and was the ghost of many other vastly superior mob movies.
“Black Mass” is the story of one of the most notorious Boston criminals, Whitey Bulger (played by Depp), his cooperation with the FBI and all the intrigue that goes along with it, or rather all the intrigue that should go along with it.
Depp owns this movie, which is not difficult given its derivative script. The plot plods along in the most predictable fashion possible: someone crosses Bulger, Bulger gets mad, Bulger kills said person. Even in the execution (no pun intended), there is nothing that is especially startling or special. So while it does function as a coherent story with consistent pacing and a focused script, there is nothing to take away from it in the end. It felt more like watching a well-put-together documentary or having Johnny Depp perform a Wikipedia article, which is a shame, because the real story is so interesting. Every word in the film is an exposition, not leaving any room for character development or climactic plot points.
By the end, it all fizzles out with the obligatory title cards explaining what happened to the real people. For some reason, the last sixty seconds were the most interesting, and that was the most frustrating part because I was reminded of everything this movie could have been. If you want to see a movie that takes on a similar subject and handles it with supremely better direction, look into Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award Winner “The Departed” (Best Film, 2006).
BONUS POINTS: Corey Stoll (for the brief time he was there), the sunglasses, the nightclub scene.
NEGATIVE POINTS: The choppy narration.