Johnny Depp’s Black Mass dis­ap­points

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Given the ti­tle of the film and tone of the trailer, I was ex­pect­ing some­thing a bit more sin­is­ter from Black Mass, the story of Ir­ish-Amer­i­can mob­ster Whitey Bul­ger’s ‘‘un­holy al­liance’’ with the FBI dur­ing the 1970s.

In­stead, the film ends up feel­ing like a cover ver­sion of pre­vi­ous crime dra­mas, with only a few mo­ments that truly un­set­tle.

Johnny Depp’s turn as Bul­ger has been hyped as his re­turn to play­ing com­plex adult roles.

It’s un­doubt­edly a fierce per­for­mance, but sees Depp con­tin­u­ing his predilec­tion for act­ing while sub­merged in pros­thet­ics, in­clud­ing a fake nose, tooth, eye­brows, con­tact lenses, hair­line, and so on.

Try­ing to fig­ure out where his real face be­gins and the makeup

BLACK MASS (R16)

Star­ring:

Johnny Depp, Joel Edger­ton, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch

Scott Cooper

Di­rec­tor: 141 mins

ends can be slightly dis­tract­ing.

Black Mass seems con­flicted at times about what story it’s try­ing to tell. The strong­est hook is Bul­ger’s part­ner­ship with the FBI and, if more fo­cus was put on Joel Edger­ton’s com­pro­mised agent John Con­nolly, it might have re­sulted in a deeper, richer tale. But the film is happy to coast along on mo­ments that will be fa­mil­iar to most view­ers: a Goodfel­las- style mon­tage here, a So­pra­nos- style whack­ing there, and it all ends up feel­ing slightly re­dun­dant.

The sup­port­ing cast is stuffed with won­der­ful char­ac­ter ac­tors, but it’s Rory Cochrane as a mem­ber of Bul­ger’s gang who leaves the big­gest im­pres­sion, his in­creas­ingly droopy face show­ing the dam­age all that crime can do to some­one’s soul.

Depp con­tin­ues his predilec­tion for act­ing while sub­merged in pros­thet­ics, in­clud­ing a fake nose, tooth, eye­brows . . .

Johnny Depp’s turn as Whitey Bul­ger has been hyped as his re­turn to play­ing com­plex adult roles.

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