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Black Mass

Biography . Drama . Crime

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Actors: Adam Scott , Juno Temple , Peter Sarsgaard , Corey Stoll , Jesse Plemons , Kevin Bacon , Dakota Johnson , Benedict Cumberbatch , Joel Edgerton , Johnny Depp
Directors: Scott Cooper
Country: USA , UK
Release: 2015-09-18
More Info:
  • Scott Foundas

    If Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing performance — a bracing return to form for the star after a series of critical and commercial misfires — is the chief selling point of Black Mass, there is much else to recommend this sober, sprawling, deeply engrossing evocation of Bulger’s South Boston fiefdom and his complex relationship with the FBI agent John Connolly, played with equally impressive skill by Joel Edgerton.

    Variety Full Review
  • Brian Truitt

    As notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, Depp astounds with one of the best performances in his long career while co-star Joel Edgerton steps up equally well as John Connolly, an ethically questionable FBI agent who flirts with the wrong side of the law.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Ice-cold. Dead eyes. Demonic laugh. His face a mask you can't read until he's up in yours. Then run. That's Johnny Depp giving everything he's got in a riveting, rattlesnake performance as South Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger in Black Mass.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    This is Depp’s show all the way, featuring his best dramatic performance since another organized-crime movie, 1997’s “Donnie Brasco.”

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    If the final result doesn't transcend emotionally in the manner of the gold standard of Boston noir, Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," the fault is not in the execution but the unyieldingly oppressive nature of the underlying material.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    The film, directed with exceptional flair and elegant concision by Scott Cooper, even comes from Warner Bros., the studio that specialized in psychopathic monsters played by such stars as James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson during Hollywood’s golden age.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    The acting in Black Mass is tremendous.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Lee Marshall

    Johnny Depp’s broodingly psychotic turn as convicted Boston crime lord James ‘Whitey’ Bulger is not the only tasty thing about Scott Cooper’s tale of the unholy alliance between a South Boston Irish mobster and the FBI.

    Screen International Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    Scott Cooper’s Black Mass is a big, brash, horribly watchable gangster picture taken from an extraordinary true story and conceived on familiar generic lines.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Black Mass is like a playlist of greatest hits from other, better movies.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    For all of its flaws, it's the first film since "Eastern Promises" that has added anything truly fresh to the old school street-level gangster story. Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Black Mass, a down and dirty crime drama based on the exploits of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger, is thrilling for a number of reasons.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    While highly entertaining and sometimes inspired, Black Mass is more like Scorsese lite. In perhaps the most memorable sequence, Bulger sardonically tests a childhood friend (Joel Edgerton) for loyalty by teasing out a “secret” steak sauce in what’s basically a reworking/homage of Joe Pesci’s famous “I’m funny, how?” scene in “GoodFellas.”

    New York Post Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    This is a good, solid, well-executed crime story. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Hartlaub

    A solid piece of filmmaking, from subtle beginning to the excessive end.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    As a dramatic thriller, Black Mass has trouble getting into low orbit. There are some tremendous scenes but the narrative as a whole feels more like a chronology of dastardly dealings than the epic tale of a criminal's rise and fall.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    If anything, director Cooper is so intent on portraying Bulger as a man, not a monster, the man comes off a little softer than he was, probably.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Jesse Hassenger

    Without an emotional core, a stronger sociological angle, or many visceral thrills, Black Mass more or less limits itself to procedural status. Within those aims, it’s a pretty good one, absorbing and well-made.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    Cooper, the director of Crazy Heart and the underrated Out of the Furnace, has made a tight and tense gangster film with Black Mass. But it’s a pretty straight-ahead entry in the genre, albeit one peppered with spicy performances.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The “banality of evil” was never so hypocritical, so banal and so evil.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Depp's performance as Bulger is as strong, and as energized, as anything he's done on screen for years.

    Slate Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Black Mass is a tightly wound piece of work, and Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) keeps its many small parts moving with ease. He's skillful at merging telling, minute details with bigger, looping schemes.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Depp's instinct for observing, underlaying and keeping things in, then letting it all out when required, pays big dividends here in a performance far more convincing than his previous big gangster role, John Dillinger in Michael Mann's Public Enemies; it's unexpected, very welcome at this point in his career, and one of his best.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    He's good, but Depp can't quite annihilate the self-consciousness that makes some of his more light-hearted work shine. Too often, it feels like he's channeling other actors: here he's Jack Nicholson with Hunter S. Thompson's nose, there he's an Irish-American Ray Liotta.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    By necessity, Black Mass begins in a hole it can never dig out of. It’s the portrait of a monster told in a flat line.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Gregory Ellwood

    Despite Depp’s seemingly flawless efforts, less may have been more in conveying just how bloodthirsty Bulger was. Where “Mass” excels is with a stellar cast whose spot on performances keep your interest as the film moves along.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    As a movie, Black Mass often drowns its dramatic potential in a dreary atmosphere and grisly violence used to dubious effect. Depp, however, operates on another level.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Jessica Kiang

    There is nothing underneath the glossy surface and no real insight into what made this man tick — and despite how creepy he looks here, Bulger was a man, not a devil.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    It’s a solid if not stellar crime drama, well put together, very well acted, and lacking only a genuine reason to exist.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    The movie is often absorbing, and skillfully played, but, along with its snarling hero, it doesn’t have much time for ordinary folk. By the end, like Marianne, we are left gasping for air.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    The movie itself is an intriguing but ultimately unspecial Feds-vs.-hoods drama. But as the sinister, snakelike South Boston criminal Whitey Bulger, Depp delivers.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • John Bleasdale

    Black Mass is ultimately a decent film with some great parts, but unfortunately it falls short of the canon to which it aspires.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Robbie Collin

    It’s hard to shake the suspicion that Depp is playing a type – almost as if he’s trying to replicate the kind of performance Nicholson might have given in the same role. You long for him to roll his sleeves up and grasp the character’s shape and soul himself, ideally without the aid of those distracting prosthetics.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Dave Calhoun

    It’s Bulger whose grim appearance and even grimmer behaviour ‘Black Mass’ indulges. But it’s the quieter, more complicated Connolly who offers the film’s subtler pleasures.

    Time Out London Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Johnny Depp makes a valiant stab at the part, but even with his hair thinned and lightened and his face hardened, Depp remains Depp: I never forgot I was watching a big star doing an impersonation. It’s as if the spirit of a psychopath like Bulger resists the camera. Or maybe the movie isn’t imaginative enough to penetrate his shell.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    By all accounts, Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger was a monster. That's exactly how Johnny Depp plays him in Black Mass, a dark blob of underworld cliches and bad contact lenses.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    Even filmmakers and actors as fine as these haven’t managed to solve one of cinema’s most enduring challenges — making criminals interesting without exalting them.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Depp isn’t doing anything different here than he did in "Dark Shadows" or "Alice in Wonderland" or the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Once again, he’s unrecognizable under elaborate makeup and prosthetics, and he speaks with a peculiar voice (this time a thick South Boston accent).

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Mr. Cooper’s direction is skillful, if overly reliant on borrowed Scorseseisms (especially when it comes to music), and the cast is first-rate, but the film is a muddle of secondhand attitudes and half-baked ideas. It feels more like a costume party than a costume drama.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Christopher Gray

    Like any crime saga without a more potent thematic hook, the film's relentlessly insular script dwells on themes of loyalty and fraternity.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Chris Hewitt (1)

    Compelling and powerfully acted, with just enough wrinkles to avoid the ghosts of gangster movies past. Depp's appearance might distract some, but it's good to see him back in the groove.

    Empire Full Review
  • Neil Smith

    Though the women could be stronger and the accents occasionally jar, cooper’s study of moral corruption enthrals. The Johnny-ssance starts here!

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Lawrence Toppman

    It’s a well-crafted, well-paced procedural drama about a monotonous psychopath.

    Charlotte Observer Full Review
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