Black Mass

Director: Scott Cooper
Year Released: 2015
Rating: 1.5

Boston-area gangster James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) gets "recruited" by FBI Special Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) - who grew up in South Boston and idolized/idolizes Bulger - to act as an 'informant' (in an effort to eradicate the Italian Mafia) which allows Bulger to run amok, killing and terrorizing while under Connolly's (and, in effect, the Federal Government's) protection. It aims to be Goodfellas but the script and direction aren't up to it - scene after scene, Bulger goes about his 'business' while Connolly repeatedly covers up for him (faithfully, blindly) and there's no genuine sympathetic center to the movie, with the closest being Connolly's wife (played by Julianne Nicholson) ... although she's a marginalized character (even Corey Stoll's Frank Wyshak, who would eventually bring down the whole operation, is a smug presence). Depp has the appearance and demeanor of Bulger down - the stained teeth, the Aviators, the strut (in jeans and boots) - but he's still, at the core, a murderer (who just so happened to 'care' for his mother and brother and hugged elderly women in the area ... and 'grieve' over the loss of his young son), and Connolly's engaging in hero-worship becomes more and more pathetic with every passing atrocity. The 2014 Joe Berlinger documentary on Bulger contains a good deal of more (objective, though incomplete) information regarding the case; this is too enraptured with the sight of Depp playing the villain.