Movies: Black Mass

Johnny Depp is unrecognizable as Whitey Bulger
Johnny Depp is unrecognizable as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture – © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

James “Whitey” Bulger could never be mistaken for a goodfella. He was the crime kingpin of Boston, an Irish kid from Southie who was above no crime: murder, dope dealing, extortion, assault, prostitution, name it, he did it. He was also an FBI informant from 1975 until 1984 when, after being warned by his FBI handler of imminent arrest, he went into hiding. He managed to elude the law until 2011 when he was arrested in Santa Monica, where he’d been living with quietly his girlfriend.

The film is extraordinarily well–cast and Johnny Depp, as Bulger, is awesome (in the original sense of the word). I watched him for 122 minutes. I knew it was he but the question, “Is that Johnny Depp?” kept intruding unbidden into my thoughts. He is, simply, unrecognizable. Director Scott Cooper’s outstanding direction honors the material.

Joel Edgerton is Billy Connolly, Whitey’s childhood friend who became an FBI agent and served as Whitey’s handler. William “Billy” Bulger, Whitey’s brother became the President of the Massachusetts Senate and, later, Chancellor of that State’s University System.