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

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 14:25 01 December 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

Don’t waste electricity as the winter winds down, here’s five top tips for saving time and money

Yesterday, 18:42

Hackney Rugby Club have won the London North West Three title – despite having their home game with Staines bring ruled as a walkover.

Fri, 17:34

Today’s Friday Fanzone Q&A talks to ‘Highbury Harold’ a member of the Black Scarf movement – the supporter group ‘that says it like it is’. Read on for this fourth generation Gooner’s views on all things Arsenal...

Fri, 17:21

Parents are concerned their toddlers’ dirty nappies will be abandoned by Camden Council once they cut services, following chaos when they tried to register for a free weekly collection.

Fri, 17:13

A British Transport Police officer was today fired for using “excessive and unnecessary force” on a member of public during an arrest at St Pancras station.

Fri, 16:55

Hampstead couple Haleh Babavand and her husband Ash Parsa spoke to the Ham and High about their experience of home schooling.

Fri, 15:32

Chinglish at the Park Theatre and Tamburlaine at the Arcola are two current productions giving the stage to some of the capital’s best East Asian acting talent

Fri, 14:55

Runners preparing for the YMCA North London’s Crouch End 10km event on Sunday May 21 can now join weekly training sessions every Tuesday evening up until race week.

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