Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    ‘Black Mass’ gives mob movies a black eye

    “Now that you have been arrested in connection with your crimes with Whitey Bulger, what’s your honest opinion of him?”
    “He is just a criminal.”

    That statement — spoken by Whitey Bulger’s right hand man, Steve “The Riflemen” Flemmi, when being questioned by the DEA — really nails it. “Black Mass” is just a movie about a criminal. 
    It doesn’t break any barriers. We have seen all these themes before, and with all the mafia movies out there, this one would not even rank in the top 10. It’s not a terrible movie; it is entertaining enough and the performances are truly high caliber, but something is missing. 
    If you caught it on Netflix or picked it up from Redbox a few months from now and watched it, you wouldn’t be disappointed, but you aren’t missing anything by not rushing out to the theaters. 
    This story picks up pretty late in Bulger’s life. He is already an established criminal that has survived a nine-year stretch in Alcatraz and has returned to his hometown of South Boston. That’s where the problem lies. We are not connected to any of the characters portrayed in this film. We have no context. 
    In a gang, or in the Mafia, in order to be a part of the crew one must prove his loyalty to the man running the show. In this film, it is hard to care about anyone close to Bulger because we don’t know why he trusts them. They come across as just unlikeable mindless thugs. We get one minor backstory with the character of Kevin Weeks and he has minor screen time throughout the rest of the film. As the audience, we have to assume things based off what we have seen in other Mafia films and TV shows. 
    Movie still Why is this film being made about Whitey Bulger? It almost feels as though this is just a second rate mobster movie. Did we run out of good mob stories? Why is he interesting? We have seen great mobster movies such as “The Godfather,” “Goodfellas,” “The Departed,” “The Untouchables,” “Road to Perdition,” “Snatch,” “American Gangster,” and “Public Enemies” (in which Depp stared) and all of those movies build an attachment to the characters. You enjoyed being in their world for a few hours. That is why they are great films. 
    If Depp’s portrayal of this guy is really accurate, then he was not charming, not attractive, not funny and was just a creepy, dangerous criminal. If that is the case then he nailed it. That is one thing I can say about this movie: Johnny Depp lost himself in this role. He is almost unrecognizable. 
    Watching this film I did not even see Johnny Depp — I saw someone else entirely, but there is no humanity in this character. He is completely unlikeable. 
    Even in scenes where there should be some truly heart-breaking moments, it is hard to feel anything for this character. Bulger’s wife, who starts to show another side of him — suddenly — disappears, with no explanation of where she went or what happened to her. In fact, there is not even a mention of her in the rest of the film.
    All in all this is just not a great movie. I give it a solid C+. The acting all around was great. Joel Egerton as John Connolly, Bulger’s link to the FBI, was sensational. He is desperate, scared, and in turn threatening, trying to force his way up the government ladder by linking himself to a criminal. 
    It works for a time but there is the inevitable fallout. While Connolly and the rest of Bulger’s crew took the fall for everything, he managed to slip away and not get caught for a majority of his life. 
    As far as this movie showed , there was not much interesting about this guy other than the fact that“he was just a criminal.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Citizen
    $0
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Comments (0)

    All Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *