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732 Ratings

Black Mass

Directed by Scott Cooper
United States, 2015
Action, Crime, Drama


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.

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Black Mass Directed by Scott Cooper

Awards & Festivals

Screen Actors Guild Awards

2016 | Nominee: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

2016 | Winner: Virtuoso Award

AACTA International Awards

2016 | Nominee: Best Supporting Actor (International)

Palm Springs International Film Festival

2016 | Winner: Desert Palm Achievement Award

Screenwriters Mark Mallouk and Englishman Jez Butterworth (yep), focusing on Bulger’s criminal years and collusion with the FBI, write dialogue as if they sliced up a bunch of boilerplate gangster movie scripts, put the scraps in a hopper, and blindly grabbed… Awkward references to local sports teams and landmarks attempt to lend Black Mass a veneer of authenticity, but Cooper and Co.’s phony dullness makes one long for even the modest genre intrigue of something like Broken City.
January 20, 2016
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We know that the film is set (and was, commendably, shot) in Boston, because the word “Southie” (Bulger’s neighbourhood terrain) is said approximately as many times as “fuck” is in The Big Lebowski – the film generally takes similarly clunky pains to convince us of its veracity. And yet this is clearly a film that is making generic, unconvincing guesses about its subject and milieu.
November 23, 2015
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This is still a very watchable movie, but it doesn’t take off. It doesn’t turn poignant (as, for instance, Donnie Brasco did, not to mention The Sopranos), and it doesn’t escalate into anything truly shocking. Bulger has a few early quirks, but success flattens the character, prompting him to withdraw from the audience like he withdraws from his comrades. The whole film is just repeated variations on a few themes: killings, meetings, confrontations.
November 10, 2015
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What are people saying?

  • Michael H. CLAES's rating of the film Black Mass

    Strong cast, including DEPP as a scary bad guy (nearly as convincing Tony SOPRANO). === Solide distribution. Réalisation musclée de l'auteur de Out of the Furnace & Crazy Heart. DEPP dans la peau d'un truand froid, calculateur, cruel et déterminé, en 2 mots un effrayant salopard.

  • HKFanatic's rating of the film Black Mass

    Not nearly as dreadful as one would expect based on all those reviews, but stretched to 122 minutes it can grow surprisingly dull for a movie about a trigger-happy psychopath tearing up South Boston in the Eighties. The good news is, it's anchored by a stellar cast, with Joel Edgerton and Peter Sarsgaard impressing the most. As for Depp, the irony is he plays it more like a vampire here than he did in "Dark Shadows."

  • MATTEO BITTANTI's rating of the film Black Mass

    Another Hollywood production. Another gangster story. Another ruthless criminal. Another corrupted cop. Move on, people, there's nothing that you have not seen a billion times before aside from Johnny Depp's incredible make up.

  • J. O.'s rating of the film Black Mass

    If I ignore the ridiculous idea that Depp had to undergo a transformation to look like a regular ol' fella, I can admit that his performance is still quite good at times. Tense, haunting even - due to his unpredictability. It's a shame there was nobody to complement it - most performances bordering on caricature. In the end, this was pretty poorly assembled and squandered a lot of potential. Had its moments, though.

  • Addy K.'s rating of the film Black Mass

    Am I the only one on planet Earth who thinks that Johnny Depp as kingpin Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger is massively overrated? Is it crazy to argue that the mannered expressions and overbearing physicality is Depp, as usual, grandstanding? And why did director Scott Cooper and d.p. Masanobu Takanayagi approach the material with such unnecessary, phony reverence? Trust me. The best scenes are in the trailer.

  • msmichel's rating of the film Black Mass

    Depp gives a transformative strong turn here as Whitey Bulger but unfortunately the film is so poorly structured and edited that it nears crime film parody. Poor framing device is soon ignored and editing choices seem under thought at best. Most of cast play to type with no performance on screen matching Depp's commitment. There are several strong moments here and there but even those seem under directed. A miss.

  • Filipe F. Coutinho's rating of the film Black Mass

    There were clearly several conflicting ideas on how to shoot this film behind the scenes. The lack of a clear perspective as well as the extremely poor storytelling amount to an uninventive, inert, boring and utterly irrelevant film.

  • Z's rating of the film Black Mass

    When you watch a Scorsese film you always sense his passion for a story worth telling and his joy of craft in the telling. I don't sense anything from Scott Cooper except a vague desire to make a gangster film starring Johnny Depp. This script is dull and perfunctory. Depp is wearing too much makeup and looks like a wax dummy come to life. Joel Edgerton squints and does his best sub-par Brando impression. Dreary.

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