Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Black Mass (Scott Cooper, 2015)
GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990) in a scene in which Bulger playfully terrorizes a colleague in the same way Joe Pesci's character -- "What do you mean, I'm funny?" -- frightens Ray Liotta's Henry Hill. The film often seems overloaded with good actors -- Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Jesse Plemons, Adam Scott, Julianne Nicholson -- in parts that don't give them enough to do. And while it was filmed in Boston, it misses the opportunity to capture the Boston neighborhood milieu in which Whitey, his politician brother Billy (Cumberbatch), and FBI agent John Connolly (Edgerton) grew up, something that was done to much better effect in films like Mystic River (Clint Eastwood, 2003), Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck, 2007), and even Good Will Hunting (Gus Van Sant, 1997). Still, the cold menace projected by Depp's Bulger is haunting, enhanced by the decision to provide the actor with ice-blue contact lenses that pierce through the shadows and give him an air of otherworldly surveillance.