Black Mass review: ‘The best we’ve seen of Depp this decade’

16:00 30 November 2015

Johnny Depp in Black Mass. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures

Johnny Depp in Black Mass. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures

Archant

Johnny Depp looks revitalised in this rather glamorised vision of a Goodfellas-esque Mafia story, says Michael Joyce.

Black Mass is a slick crime drama with a testosterone-heavy cast all trying to put 97 different inflections to the phrase mother******. It’s all quality stuff yet still feels like a tired shake down, a Quitegoodfellas. Depp plays notorious gangster/ FBI informant Whitey Bulger, who got lucky in the ‘70s when a friend from school days, Connolly (Edgerton), returns to South Boston as a big time FBI agent. With a headfull of baloney about de loyalty of de streets and perhaps a little star struck at, he supposes, dealing with a childhood idol on equal terms, he suggests they team up to defeat the local Mafia. Bolger uses the arrangement to deal with the competition and run wild and be bloodthirsty and callous, while all the time his inside man is protecting him and pre warning him of any FBI investigation.

The rats get capped, everybody loves their mum and overdoes the local accent, and they sit around a kitchen table with some beers and talk about the old days – eh, we woz just kids den, look at us now. There is even a “What do you mean funny? Funny how?” speech.

It’s one of those gangster films that claims to show us a deglamorised vision of crime while obviously doing the opposite, if only by having Depp in the lead role, albeit with a receding hairline. Depp, more energised than he’s been in at least half a decade, provides the film with what spark it has, though the satanic menace he gives Bulger probably flatters the real life figure. But then so does making a film about him.

Rating: 3/5

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Yesterday, 22:38

In a deeply moving show of community around 200 Hampstead mums and dads with buggies, friends and family joined our march through central London today for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Yesterday, 17:00

A driver managed to flip a car on its back near the pavement just by Regent’s Park

Yesterday, 15:43

A beautifully presented mews house which was subject to a major renovation project by the award winning Belsize Architects seven years ago.

Yesterday, 15:41

Hampstead Ladies’ second team were narrowly beaten 15-12 by Kilburn on Sunday, despite two tries for Barbara Sike.

Yesterday, 13:07

Read a Hampstead resident’s letter which will be delivered to Downing Street and the Foreign Office by Hampstead parents today to reach the Grand Ayatollah

Yesterday, 13:07

Saracens were dealt only their second defeat of the Premiership campaign on Saturday as Bath put in a strong defensive display to overcome the league leaders and stop them from opening up some breathing space at the summit.

Yesterday, 12:34

As Hampstead parents march on Downing Street today to call for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release from Iran, editor Emily Banks explains why the Ham&High stand behind them

Yesterday, 12:00

Heung-Min Son rates his scissor kick against Swansea as the best goal of his career – and the Tottenham midfielder says he is now feeling fresher than in previous months, when his efforts were being undermined by niggly injuries and tiredness.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now