Black Mass


3 (out of 4 stars)
If you don't know the history of James ‘Whitey’ Bolger, don't worry.  It won't affect your enjoyment of this movie.  Unfortunately for some reason, prior to my screening of the movie, someone from the Mob Museum in Las Vegas decided that it was important to deliver a lecture on who Whitey Bolger was, starting from his childhood up until the point in his life where this movie was supposed to start.  I could tell you a little bit about it, but I fell asleep during the 10-minute lecture.  After all, who wants to listen to a lecture when you're there to see a movie?


OK, so let's assume you have no clue who James ‘Whitey’ Bolger is and you're wondering why you're going to watch this movie.  I'll tell you why.  This is a movie about a true mobster who lived during our lifetime.  In fact, he’s still alive today!  This is not a fictional character or a character from the ‘20s, this is a real life person who just a few years ago was apprehended after being on the lamb for over 16 years.  He was one of the most vicious, cruel, psychotic, parasitic, cunning mobsters in recent history.  He murdered both his friends and enemies and gave orders to murder dozens more.  This all occurred in Boston, hence the name, “Black Mass”.


Now with a background like that, what about the movie?  How does this movie portray this mobster?  I'd love to tell you about it in detail, but you know the rules:  I never give away the story, (even though it's factual and you can probably Google it and find out most of it yourself), but here's what you need to know. 


I loved this movie!  Finally—a movie that's worthy of Johnny Depp's talent.  If he's not nominated for a best actor (all award shows) I'll be in shock.  Let's face it, Johnny Depp's last few movies (Lone Ranger, Mortdecai) were subpar at best.  In this film, he is scary, cunning, threatening and just pure evil.  It's the best performance that I've seen him give in many, many years.  I would go as far as stating that this film is 'this' generation's Casino (or The Departed).  While the movie doesn't have the flare of Martin Scorsese's touch, this film is still mesmerizing. The film takes place in Boston, and the cast tries to use very "Southy" (South) Boston accents, which I realize that if you're not used to this dialect, it may be a little difficult to understand what they are saying.  But since I spent a lot of time with friends from Southy, I didn't have any problems. 


This is a good movie to see at the theater, not because of special effects or incredible cinematography.  It deserves to be seen on the large screen just to witness the makeup on Johnny Depp, and those beady, little eyes.  What a transformation! 


Whitey Bolger would probably end up killing you at the dinner table if you burped, so whatever you do, don’t bring your popcorn and drink into the theater, because you never know.  If you make any noise, he may have his sights set on you!


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