peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2015 09 24 BlackMass

Black Mass

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4.50pm session at the AMC 600 North Michigan 9, $10.29 + $1.23 tax = $11.52. Rode the bike over from work: perfect weather for doing so, and the traffic wasn't too heavy. Johnny Depp leads, Joel Edgerton does the buddy thing. Benedict Cumberbatch is somewhat squandered as there is no Godfather to his consigliere, though he is as teflon-smooth as Robert Duvall ever was. I sort-of got the appeal of Dakota Johnson here; she's about perfect as Bulger's moll, mother of his son and suitably distraught when things go south. OK, the cast is pretty much excellent. However if the goal was to humanize Bulger, this resolutely old-school movie completely fails. He is banal, and all the granny-helping in the world isn't going to change that. Boston was more interesting in The Town and so forth.

The marriage of criminal and cop was better celebrated by Blue Murder; yeah, that cast was ace too. Between this and Public Enemies, it seems clear that Depp should abandon this genre.

A. O. Scott: "It's possible, though, to think of the shortcomings of Black Mass as fitting comeuppance for Mr. Bulger. He may have thought he was a big deal, but in the end all he merits is a minor gangster movie." Dana Stevens got more into it. Kaleem Aftab (in the Smage but lifted from elsewhere) is skeptical.