Black Mass online movie review - Good, but seems to be missing something in the story tightness
The movie is being told from the perspectives and narration of Kevin Weeks, John Martorano and Stephen Flemmi, who were the right hand men of the crime lord James (Jimmy) "Whitey" Bulger.
In 1975 Jimmy leads a South Boston's small time gang Winter Hill. He recruits Kevin Weeks as he takes him to brutalize Joey Angiulo, member of the competing Angiulo mafia from the North. Meanwhile, an FBI agent John Connolly, who grew up in Jimmy's neighborhood, comes back to Boston. He soon speaks to Jimmy's brother Billy, who's now a senator, to arrange a meeting with Jimmy. Connlly proposes an alliance between them to bring down the Angiulo. One night at Winter Hill's watering hole The Triple O's, one of Jimmy's guy raised his fist in his drunkenness to Jimmy. Jimmy soon takes care of it decisively. Connolly wins his superior's approval about the alliance with Jimmy. Jimmy only told Flemmi about it. Jimmy lost his son to an illness. This makes him more ruthless as he expands his crime activities.
In 1981 Winter Hill's illegal activities are racking up a lot of cash, and the gang pays bribes to both the police and even the FBI. Jimmy gives out the address of the Angiulo headquarters to Connolly, making the FBI more lenient to Winter Hill. Jimmy also has a hand in the Miami company Jai Alai. He made the deals with John Callahan and Brian Halloran. Callahan says that the company's new owner Roger Wheeler is being nosy about the bookkeeping, and asks a favor from Jimmy. Flemmi asks Bryan about a hit on Wheeler but Jimmy tells Bryan to leave with some money. Soon Wheeler gets killed. The FBI gets annoyed about it and Bryan comes forward to ask for protection from the bureau. But Connolly dismisses Bryan and calms his fellow agents. He confronts Jimmy about Wheeler but Jimmy manages to get the name of the rat who sold his name out from Connoly, and soon Jimmy kills Bryan. As the FBI again panics about Bryan, they hit the jackpot and arrests the Angiulo head. In celebration Jimmy and his crew takes Connolly to Miami in spring of 1982. Flemmi kills Callahan there at Connolly's knowledge, supposedly strengthening the bond between Jimy and Connolly.
In 1985 Jimmy and Billy lost their mother. Jimmy starts supplying arms to the IRA. In cold blood he kills Deborah, the daughter of Flemmi's girlfriend, who was ratting to the police. The district attorney in the FBI's Boston office gets replaced with Fred Wyshak, and Connolly gets a hard time to convince him about Jimmy. His fellow agents also discover that the intel supposedly from Jimmy are actually old ignored intel from other informants. The boat carrying the arms to Ireland gets intercepted due to the pilot being a snitch. Connolly's colleagues deny him the pilot's name but Jimmy soon finds the man and kills him. Connolly's colleague comes clean to the press and opens up publicly Jimmy as an FBI informant since 1975. In 1995 Jimmy left Boston and became a fugitive. He is captured in California in 2011.
The story is decently written and shown enough balance for the main focus character Jimmy Bulger. Yet this balance only lasted for about one third of the whole movie, since Jimmy becomes a pure wolf in sheep's clothing until the ending. On the other perspective, most of the other characters also have little to none variation of their original introductory state. John Connolly seems very stupid that for years he doesn't realize he's been played by Jimmy. So does John Morris' indecisiveness which lasted for years. Only Stephen Flemmi's character has a little bit of humanity shown when he stood by as Deborah gets killed.
The crime is the real attraction for this movie, pure cold blood executions to be exact. The movie makers were more than able to present us the camera tricks to show those convincing scenes with blood splattering all over and doing it at close distances. Don't expect to find anything like a shootout or the likes in this movie, though. If the movie makers stayed true to history or the book it was based on, apparently Jimmy Bulger is one who prefer silencing his targets "persuasively".
The drama parts had good grounding at the first one third or so of the duration. It nicely balances Jimmy's personality by giving depiction of humanity in caring for his son. But after that, it looks like the drama went all gone as the movie prefer to emphasize more Jimmy's ruthlessness after his son's death. Furthermore, The movie isn't being clear about the Lindsey's whereabouts after her loss.
The acting in overall is indeed a great job to see. Johnny Depp is truly one of the masters in deep character acting. His portrayal of Jimmy made me forget that he was also the confused Edward Scissorhands and the quirky Jack Sparrow. Add to this is the performance from Benedict Cumberbatch, who although had just a less significant part here, managed to add in a touch of authenticity into his speech's accenting. Having a cast of big names but small parts here turned out to be quite a nice move. Putting the less famous Rory Cochrane and Jesse Plemmons alongside Depp keeps the focus to the relationship between Jimmy and Joel Edgerton's Connolly at significance. Still placing familiar faces like Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, Corey Stoll and even Juno Temple helped other scenes to gain attention.
My say for Black Mass (2015) is a 6 out of 10 score and a recommendation to go and see it in the cinemas. It's adequately entertaining as we get to be presented with quite a gripping story based on true events.