Black Mass a Tedious Mob Movie Michelle’s Review!

Johnny Depp in Black Mass

To say that Johnny Depp’s performance, as Boston Mobster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger in Black Mass is his best performance in years, really isn’t saying much. The number one problem with this film is that there’s no range in his performance and you can almost see him thinking “This is going to get me some award nominations.”

Black Mass is more about FBI agent John Connolly’s (Joel Edgerton) irrational “love affair/bromance” with Bulger and his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) than about Bulger himself which ultimately hurts the film. It spends way too much time talking about Bulger’s crimes than actually showing them.


I know people are going to rave about the performances in this film, but honestly they all felt forced to me and the Boston accents were a bit over the top. Granted I’ve never been, nor have any desire to go there. I’m not going to pretend like they weren’t good, but they were just slightly off putting. It’s due primarily to writing and Scott Cooper’s bland directing.

As good as Depp is in this role his range goes from stoic, to more stoic in every scene. There’s not much depth to Bulger. We don’t really discover what makes him tic or even see a larger plan in anything he does. Yes, he takes advantage of opportunities as they present themselves – like Connolly eventually recruiting him to become an informer. He sees the value it’d bring him. When he does kill people it doesn’t seem like it’s in the furtherance of a master plan.


Bulger kills people when he’s pissed at them for disrespecting him, or he thinks they are going to rat him out. The only death shown in the movie that has a clear purpose is when takes care of a couple of people who are standing in the way of a business deal.

Even though the FBI knows that Bulger is involved in all of these murders, Connolly runs interference for his trusted “friend.” Connolly arrogantly tells his FBI Colleagues that Whitey is a hero who is going to help them get rid of the Italian mob.


The ending was weirdly edited. I one point it felt truncated and left me thinking wait, “Am I not supposed to know what happened to Bulger?” Then the film continues for a few minutes and wraps everything up. I’m sure the filmmakers weren’t trying to make a mind numbingly boring film about the banality of evil, but that’s what Black Mass is.

Final Grade C


  1. “Granted I’ve never been, nor have any desire to go there”. …ouch. well fine then dont.

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