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.
Based on a true story of James "Whitey" Bulger, an Irish Mob godfather and FBI informant who had a "secret trading" deal with his brother, William "Billy" Bulger, a state senator and a Boston public figure, and John Connolly, an FBI agent. They planned to take down the Italian mob and mafia in Boston, which went awry and things turned massively violent. When the credence for each other began fading out, drug dealing, murders, and extortion started to rise, and forced the FBI's Boston office to confirm that Whitey Bulger was one of the most notorious criminals in US history and also one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List criminals. Written by
The main meaning of the term "black mass" is a ritual in witchcraft or satanism that is an inversion of the Catholic Church's traditional Mass, for the purposes of evil instead of good. Nearly all of the criminals depicted in this movie (including the Irish mobsters, the Italian mafiosi with whom they were feuding, and FBI agent John Connolly, who was abetting Bulger) were Catholics, even though their murderous activities were in direct opposition to the values taught by the Catholic Church. The title is also a play on the color-themed nickname of its main character, and a nod to the corruption endemic to the city and state in which the story is set (since Mass. is an old-style postal abbreviation for Massachusetts). See more »
In the movie, Bulger is shown recruiting his partner, Steve Flemmi, into becoming an informant with him for the FBI. In actuality, Flemmi was recruited 10 years prior in 1965 into becoming an FBI informant by agent Paul Rico. See more »
Before we start, I want you to kow something. I'm not a rat. You understand? I want that on record before we start.
DEA Agent Eric Olsen:
Okay. You are not a rat. And it's on record. Mr. Weeks, the charges against you, racketeering, extortion, kidnapping, and accomplice to murder, are very serious. Am I correct in stating that you are here today to make a deal with the federal government?
DEA Agent Eric Olsen:
And am I correct in stating that you are going from trusted confidant to one of South Boston's most ...
[...] See more »
As the actors are listed, pictures and footage of the real people they portrayed are shown. See more »
I try not to get my hopes up too much for certain movies, and "Black Mass" (which I got very excited about) just reminds me why.
Oh, Scott Cooper... how did you manage to make one of the most twisted, unusual, and mysterious gangster stories into an emotionless web of a film? From acting to editing, there was so much wrong that it's almost surprising.
My main issue was the nonexistence of a certain necessity: stakes. In all great mafia flicks, stakes are essential. Would "Goodfellas" have been as remarkable if it didn't feel like any wrong move would set off a universe-ending set of events? Would the "Godfather" have been considered the greatest film of all time if a war wasn't seconds away from breaking out? "Black Mass" managed to keep a story that easily could've had those steaks from having any at all. This was, of course, caused by the emotionless acting, but more on that in a second. But this film really made me not care if the protagonist (whether you consider that to be Bulger or Connolly) lives or dies; and in a mob movie, that is a worse crime than anything committed on screen.
So the acting I blame entirely on Cooper. Every single actor did a great job with what they were given, but the problem is that they were given the wrong thing. For example, Depp was probably told to play a silent yet psychotic, friendly yet intimidating crime lord. Did he do that well? Absolutely. Is that who the character was written as? Not at all. Same goes for Joel Edgerton's - who I thought did the best job out of all of the actors - character, Jesse Plemons' character, and even smaller characters like Adam Scott's. All those actors did well, but not in the right parts.
The list goes on with issues, so let's talk about why the movie got 2 stars rather than zero (therefore, let's talk about the positives). I've heard some critics discuss the overuse of violence in the film. Though there is quite a bit of violence, I thought it was used very tastefully. No blood was used where it didn't seem necessary, and personally, I think that the violence becomes numbing, which takes us even further into the mob guys' mentality on murder. Also, I thought the shooting locations were very well chosen, as they really captured the narrow-mindedness of the lead characters' lives.
So should you see this movie? -If you love mafia movies of any shape or size, then go see it. -If you love Johnny Depp, wait until it comes out on demand. -If you don't love mafia movies, haven't seen many mafia movies, or just have none of the listed qualities above, then don't see this film.
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