"You know Southie kids, we went straight from playing cops and robbers on the playground to doing it for real on the streets....it wasn't always easy to tell who was who." ~ Black Mass
Based on the book Black Mass: Whitey Bulger, the FBI, and A Devil's Deal by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, the 2015 mob film, Black Mass, is the true story of Boston gangster, Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger, that focuses on the loyalties that lie within crime families and the corruption that runs deep in our social structure. The film stars Johnny Depp as Whitey and Benedict Cumberbatch as his brother and local politician, Billy Bulger - two of my all-time favorite actors. Depp delivers yet another powerful performance, and Cumberbatch (OMG! His Boston accent!!) proves just how talented and versatile an actor he is.
Black Mass focuses on the crime wars of South Boston between 1975-1981 and the feud between the Irish mob and Italian mafia. FBI agent, John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), grew up in the same neighborhood idolizing Jimmy like all the other kids. He convinces FBI officials that it would be beneficial to use Whitey as an informant. Through Jimmy, they can finally capture the other mob bosses. The alliance with the Feds lasted years and resulted in the arrest of several gangsters. However, as the alliance begins to crumble under corruption and lies, the players are brought into light forcing Bulger into hiding in late 1994 where he remained for eleven years.
"Get the FBI to fight our wars, against our enemies, while they protect us." ~ Black Mass
Black Mass portrays the brutal world of organized crime and demonstrates just how deep the corruption goes. Fans of mob films will surely want to check it out. However, despite a fascinating story and brilliant performances by the entire cast, I was not crazy about the film. It was slow-paced, and, frankly, I found the thick Boston accents difficult to understand at times. The film also stars Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, and Kevin Bacon, along with Dakota Johnson who gave a shocking performance as Lindsey Cyr, Whitey's wife.
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Black Mass is rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references, and brief drug use.