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Black Mass (2015)

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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.

Director:

Scott Cooper

Writers:

Mark Mallouk (screenplay), Jez Butterworth (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
2,848 ( 243)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... James 'Whitey' Bulger
Joel Edgerton ... John Connolly
Benedict Cumberbatch ... Billy Bulger
Dakota Johnson ... Lindsey Cyr
Kevin Bacon ... FBI Agent Charles McGuire
Peter Sarsgaard ... Brian Halloran
Jesse Plemons ... Kevin Weeks
Rory Cochrane ... Stephen Flemmi
David Harbour ... John Morris
Adam Scott ... FBI Agent Robert Fitzpatrick
Corey Stoll ... Fred Wyshak
Julianne Nicholson ... Marianne Connolly
W. Earl Brown ... John Martorano (as W Earl Brown)
Bill Camp ... John Callahan
Juno Temple ... Deborah Hussey
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Storyline

Based on a true story of James "Whitey" Bulger, an Irish Mob godfather and a 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 theft 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 Gusde

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Keep your enemies close. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Mass See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$53,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,635,037, 20 September 2015

Gross USA:

$62,575,678

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$99,775,678
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second time that Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson starred in a movie together. They were previously in August: Osage County (2013). See more »

Goofs

The Angiulos lived at 98 Prince Street in Boston's North End. The street shown is a nearby side street. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Kevin Weeks: 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?
Kevin Weeks: Correct.
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 »

Crazy Credits

As the actors are listed, pictures and footage of the real people they portrayed are shown. See more »


Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
Traditional
[actually written by James Pierpont (uncredited)]
Arranged by Frank De Vol
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cops and Robbers, Southie Style
19 September 2015 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Movie goers tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to Johnny Depp – big fans or denigrators. Whichever side of the line you fall, there are few actors who can claim such a diverse career of on screen characters ranging from Edward Scissorhands to Gilbert Grape; from Donnie Brasco to Captain Jack Sparrow; from Willy Wonka to Sweeney Todd; and from John Dillinger to Tonto. Depp now turns his talents towards one of the most unsympathetic real life characters imaginable … South Boston's infamous crime lord James "Whitey" Bulger.

Director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace) proves yet again that he is an actor's director, rather than a visual technician or story addict. In this adaptation of the book from "Boston Globe" reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, Cooper has Depp and Joel Edgerton as his two leads, and an incredibly deep supporting cast that provide the look and feel for this period piece dramatizing the crime and corruption during Bulger's reign.

When one thinks of the memorable kingpins of crime/gangster movies, those that come to mind include Michael Corleone (The Godfather movies), Tony Montana (Scarface), Jimmy Conway (Goodfellas), and Frank Costello (The Departed). The Costello character was supposedly partially inspired by Bulger. What made each of these characters fascinating to watch was the insight we were given into the psychological make-up of each and the inner-workings of their organization. And that's the disappointment of Cooper's film.

For the Whitey Bulger story, there are two distinct directions to explore: the building of Bulger's criminal empire, or the motivation of the FBI Agent John Connolly (Edgerton) as he juggled his job and relationship with Bulger. Unfortunately, the approach here is to show a hand full of cold-blooded murders to prove Bulger's management style, and a few FBI meetings that show the obvious uncertainty within the agency. Rather than a muddled mash-up, a more interesting movie would have chosen a path and dug in deeply.

Despite the story issues, it is fun to watch how Depp and Edgerton tackle their roles. Under heavy make-up (wrinkles, receding hairline, hillbilly teeth, and crazy contact lenses), Depp becomes the intimidating force of Whitey Bulger. Just as impressive is Edgerton as Agent Connolly, as we witness the Southie neighborhood boys all grown up, but still playing cops and robbers … and it remains difficult to tell who the good guys from the bad. Edgerton's cockiness and strutting capture the ego and ambition necessary for a federal agent to bend so many rules. In fact, despite the vastly different approaches, it's not entirely clear which of these two fellows possesses the greatest ambition.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Billy Bulger, Whitey's younger brother who became a State Senator. We get very few scenes featuring the brothers, and in fact, Cumberbath's best scenes are instead shared with Edgerton. It's difficult not to chuckle at their first meeting in a restaurant as we watch a Brit and Aussie talk it out with south Boston accents. Kevin Bacon, David Harbour and Adam Scott play Edgerton's fellow FBI agents, while Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane (especially good) and W Earl Brown make terrific Bulger crew members. Peter Sarsgaard leaves quite the impression as a doped-up associate, while Julianne Nicholson, Dakota Johnson and Juno Temple provide the film's minimal female presence. Corey Stoll storms onto the screen as a Federal Prosecutor who is not amused by the relationship between Connolly and Bulger, but this movie belongs to Depp and Edgerton.

The concern is that any viewer not already familiar with the Whitey Bulger story may find the story not overly interesting, despite the terrific performances. Fortunately, this viewer was mesmerized by last year's exceptional documentary entitled Whitey: United States of America v James J Bulger … a must see for anyone who wants full details into the Bulger reign of crime and terror, as well as his 20 years on the lam.


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