REVIEW: BLACK MASS
OVERVIEW: Keep your enemies close and don’t trust anyone when “Black Mass” arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Three-time Oscar® nominee Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) stars as notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in the drama “Black Mass,” directed by Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”).
“Black Mass” will be available on February 16 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD, and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet*. Fans can also own “Black Mass” via purchase from digital retailers beginning on January 12.
SYNOPSIS: In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to collaborate with the FBI in order to eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power and become one of the most ruthless and dangerous gangsters in Boston history.
FILM REVIEW: The flick
opens with an overlay of narration and what appears to be a
studying of faces; faces that have been distorted by makeup,
contact lenses and the seventies/eighties hairstyles, which
all seem to aim to remove any semblance of baggage of the
stars’ and their previous roles. And as far as that
objective goes, with Johnny Depp, they were entirely
successful in immersing audiences into the likeness of
Whitey Bulger’s form and appearance. Depp’s transformation
was a makeup and performance work of art in its own right.
It’s a performance piece that allows audiences to totally
engulf themselves into the character without thinking of
Depp himself. He [Depp] disappears into the character;
lurking irremovably underneath those vampiric blue eyes
while the appropriate creepiness of his actions is still a
recognizable characteristic of Bulger himself. The rest of
the ensemble cast of actors dons the unusual suspect typical
mobster personas bringing to life, the essence of the true
life crime story.
This however, is with the
exception of talented actor Benedict Cumberbatch (The
Imitation Game, 2014), whom, in my opinion totally destroyed
every line he uttered in the Bostonian accent. What a shame,
for such a talented actor. It was, literally, quite painful
to sit through his scenes. Somehow he seemed to struggle
with the basic intonations of the accent and just simply
sounded like an idiot. Now, having said this, his acting was
still on point, despite his epic fail with his lines.
Besides this, another obvious problem is that Bulger’s
story is far too complex and meandering to be contained in a
simple two-hour film, especially one that pays homage to
most, if not all details of the true-life crime drama.
Nevertheless, the attention to detail is consistent and
the recreations of a specific time period are very much
convincing and are both skillfully executed visual tactics.
This results in the story and its one hundred and twenty-two
minute play-time, being boosted to some degree.
many levels, Black Mass is an examination of a real-world
monster, stuck to a true-to-life basis and condemned to a
somewhat of an anticlimactic, unsurprising ending, due to
the nature of the events that led up to the finality (If two
life sentences can be considered a closure) of the story.
Overall, it should be said that stronger films have
captured the essence of Whitey Bulger and one has to look no
further than Martin Scorsese’s stylistic “The Departed;”
staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, amongst the
many others. However, for those interested, seeking out
other perspectives on the legal facts of the story; Joe
Berlinger’s 2014’s documentary, “Whitey: United States of
America v. James J. Bulger,” is a very detailed viewpoint to
be observed. I believe three and a half out of five stars
are well deserved here and it is worth the theater visit for
the visual dramatics of it all.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English,
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
English DTS-HD Master Audio
5.1/Dolby Digital 2.0,
Latin Spanish, Canadian French
Subtitles -English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French
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The Manhunt for Whitey Bulger
Johnny Depp: Becoming Whitey Bulger
Black Mass: Deepest Cover, Darkest Crime