I’m a pretty big fan of gangster films. Donnie Brasco and The Departed rank as two of my fave movies of all time, so I had to see Black Mass right when it hit theaters. Overall, I have to say, I really enjoyed the film, all up until the scene where Johnny Depp shoots a guy who I’m pretty sure was supposed to be me.
I loved Depp’s understated and chilling portrayal of above-the-law Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, and I found the on-screen cop-crook relationship between Bulger and FBI agent John Connolly (played by Joel Edgerton, in another great performance) to be as fascinating as any in recent memory. In fact, the only real complaint I have with the film is a scene about an hour into it where Depp suddenly shoots a guy who looks and talks exactly like me. That guy was definitely supposed to be me, and I guess I wasn’t a huge fan of the scene.
...as soon as I essentially watched myself get shot to death on screen, the movie kind of lost me a little.
It’s unfortunate, because I thought the writing was well done, the supporting cast was fantastic, and the cinematography and art direction created an authentically seedy 1970s Boston. Still, as soon as I essentially watched myself get shot to death on screen, the movie kind of lost me a little.
It was just a low point in an otherwise exceptional film. The thing is, I’m just an HR rep from outside Cleveland with no connections to the Mafia. I’ve only been to Boston once, in 1996. I wasn’t even born when the movie takes place. I have nothing to do with the story at all. There’s no reason for me to be a character in this movie, much less one who gets brutally murdered. So, that part of the film seemed pretty unrealistic and, frankly, a little gratuitous.
I still highly recommend seeing Black Mass. The one scene where I’m killed remains a bit of a head-scratcher, but I’m willing to overlook that one minor flaw. Good movie, good performances!