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Black Mass
BLU-RAY disk
02.23.2016 By: Chris Bumbray
Black Mass order download
Director:
Scott Cooper

Actors:
Johnny Depp
Joel Edgerton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A look at the brutal reign of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), who ruled South Boston while covertly working as an FBI informant, feeding the bureau information on his competitors and shielding his schemes from prosecution.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When I saw BLACK MASS back at TIFF in the fall, I was sure it was going to be a huge blockbuster and a best actor Oscar nomination for Johnny Depp seemed like a sure thing. It's amazing what a few months can do, as BLACK MASS, despite chalking up some respectable box office, didn't exactly set the world on fire. While Depp got good reviews, by the time the nominations came around nobody thought he'd be collecting a statue.

At any rate, Scott Cooper's BLACK MASS is still an exceptionally well-made gangster epic. With expectations of Oscar glory no longer a pre-occupation, it can be taken on its own merits. Depp, after years and years of acting in box-office crapola finally gets a solid movie worthy of his talents. While he's still hiding behind a bald cap, tons of make-up and rotting teeth, it seems like an authentic performance and his Bulger is the best part he's had since BLOW.

While Bulger is the star of the show, Depp is backed-up by one hell of a supporting cast. While some of them, like Benedict Cumberbatch and (especially) Dakota Johnson feel like they're only contributing extended cameos, people like Joel Edgerton (as Bulger's FBI contact) and Rory Cochrane are wonderful. The same goes for Julianne Nicholson, who has a great, creepy scene opposite Depp, where Bulger is upset she's opted not to share dinner with him, an offence he doesn't take lightly.

However, BLACK MASS has one notable flaw. It's a story only half told. The most interesting part of Bulger's story is the time he spent on the run, where he rode the top of the FBI's Most Wanted list. A whole subplot with Sienna Miller as his girlfriend was shot but discarded at the eleventh hour, and the movie feels incomplete without it. While it was apparently for pacing issues, at just over two hours there's no reason BLACK MASS couldn't have gone on a little longer.
THE EXTRAS
Black Mass: Deepest Cover, Darkest Crime: A standard EPK where most of the big-ticket participants, including stars Depp, Edgerton, director Cooper and the original co-authors of the book talk about the process of bringing Bulger's tale to the big screen.

Johnny Depp: Becoming Whitey Bulger: Focuses on Depp's portrayal of Bulger, with him even admitting that he tried to set up a meet with Bulger, who declined due to his raw feelings about the book this was based on.

The Manhunt for Whitey Bulger: Now this really annoyed me. While this hour-long doc about Bulger's time on the run is fascinating, it's so good that you wonder why the heck they cut that particular subplot from the film! I was hoping they'd somehow shoehorn in some of the missing footage, but nope. Oh well, at least it fill in the gaps regarding Bulger's eventual capture, with some interesting interviews.

As usual for WB Blu-rays, this also comes with a UltraViolet digital copy and a bonus DVD version.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While the lack of deleted footage is very disappointing, BLACK MASS is still a very entertaining gangland tale, and technically the Blu-Ray/DVD is top-notch.
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