Black Mass (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Director: Scott Cooper
Distributor: Warner Bros Entertainment Inc.
Duration: 122 minutes

Black Mass (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: All aspects of Bulger's life are handled
Bad: The storyline isn't very clear at times
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Rating: 7.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The world might seem like a very unsafe place right now, but crime is something of every day and age. In the 1970s and 80s in Boston, you had also better watch out who to be friends with, as Whitey Bulger and his gang  made the streets unsafe for everyone who stood in their way. Black Mass tells exactly this story, about a reckless man who had many deaths to account for, yet managed to stay under the police radar for a very long time.


We first see Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons) being interrogated by agent Eric Olson (Lonnie Farmer), who asks him about his involvement with the South Boston Winter Hill Gang, which was led by James ‘Whitey’ Bulger ( Johnny Depp). He also asks about the former FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), who isn’t as innocent as one might expect either.

Rewinding to 1975, we meet Kevin again, working as a bouncer at a bar in Boston. That’s where he meets Whitey, and soon he becomes part of his gang. Whitey is well liked in the neighborhood he grew up in, despite being a real mobster. His brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) is completely different, as he is state senator and isn’t involved in any shady business whatsoever, despite seeing Whitey regularly. One day, John Connolly, a young man who grew up with the Bulger brothers and now is a successful FBI agent, wants to meet up with Bulger. He proposes him to become an informant for the FBI, taking down other gangs and gangsters. Bulger doesn’t like the idea at first, but John manages to convince him in the end, after the Angiulos kill one of his gang members.


Bulger is also a family man, being a loving father to his son Douglas (Luke Ryan), but when Douglas passes away due to illness, he splits up with his girlfriend Lindsey (Dakota Johnson). Over the years, he keeps being an informant for John Connolly, without delivering much valuable information though, until he finally comes with photo’s of the Angiulos, which leads to their arrest. That’s one enemy less for him, and John Connolly is the hero of the day, but they’ll both  have to be careful, as the new district attorney Fred Wyshak (Corey Stoll) seems to be very interested as to how Bulger managed to not get caught by the police over all those years.

The film tells a true story, based on the book by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. There is quite some story to tell, but there are some time lapses here and there to speed things up a bit. Nonetheless, there is still a lot of information packed together and because of that, some content isn’t that understandable right away. Other than that, the film is quite enjoyable to watch, also due to the variation between action packed scenes and more calm conversations. A clever touch that should be mentioned here is that Whitey is portrayed at first as a gentleman and father, but more and more you see him for what he really is, namely a reckless gangster who doesn’t shy from torture or murder.


The cast of this film consists out of many well known and well respected actors such as Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dakota Johnson, thus setting high expectations, and truth be told, acting performances are very decent. Also the casting and makeup department deserve to be mentioned, as it is undeniably true that Johnny Depp and the others of the gang all look very convincing, beside their acting alone.

For true and exciting stories as this one, it’s easy to guess what the extras have to offer. A documentary about the real Whitey Bulger is included, which is actually quite interesting after having seen the movie. Also Johnny Depp and others will be explaining how he became Whitey Bulger. Lastly, there is also some extra content about the making of the movie. Overall, it’s fair to say that the extras really are an asset to this release.



Black Mass promises a lot, with its famous cast and interesting, true gangster story. While the story is certainly intriguing, it’s not always that easy to follow since there is a lot of information packed into a short amount of time. Nonetheless, there is enough variation in the film, as there is quite some action, mixed with more tranquil scenes. Also the contrast of Whitey as a mobster and as a father and family man comes out quite strikingly. All in all, despite the plot not always being that clear, the film is intriguing enough to keep watching, and will definitely be able to entertain you for quite a while.

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Black Mass (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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