Film Review: Black Mass

BLACK MASS

Director and co-writer Scott Cooper continues his winning streak with Black Mass. The film is well crafted, well written and very entertaining.

Gangster Jimmy ‘Whitey’ Bulger is one of South Boston’s most notorious criminals. The brother of a state senator, Jimmy becomes an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family taking over his turf…

After the success of Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace, Scott Cooper continues to direct superlative features with Black Mass. Based on a true story, Black Mass charts the rise and fall of the famous gangster of South Boston. The film exhibits familiar gangster tropes, but these are executed in a competent and engaging fashion.

Scott Cooper’s direction is strong. The narrative is told is chronological order, with flash forwards inserted to give viewers an idea of where the story is headed. Given how well known the protagonist is, this is not a giveaway to see the outcome well in advance.

Perhaps the most interesting facet of Black Mass is other characters’ relationship with Jimmy. A range of characters are featured, with varying relationships with the protagonist. Each of these connections help to sketch a picture of Jimmy, ensuring he is a three-dimensional protagonist. Towards the outcome of the film, the different choices his compatriots make are illuminating. There is a poignancy point at the end of the film with regards to John Connolly and the decision he makes about Jimmy.

Violence is a prominent feature of Black Mass. The willingness of Jimmy to carry out these brutal acts successful exemplify the type of character he is. Cooper does not shy away from depicting some brutal violence, yet it never feels gratuitous given the tone of the film. The soundtrack and costumes works well to signpost the changing eras. Art direction is good, with cool colours contrasting strongly with neon lighting in certain scenes.

Johnny Depp gives one of his strongest performances in recent years as Jimmy Bulger. Joel Edgerton is very believable as Connolly, whilst Benedict Cumberbatch and Rory Cochrane are decent in supporting roles.

Black Mass is great addition to the gangster movie genre, and enjoyable film overall.

Black Mass is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2015.

Previews: Deadpool Trailer, Crimson Peak Poster and more

Plenty in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the Deadpool trailer, a video for The Martian, the latest Crimson Peak poster and more…

Deadpool Trailer

Here is the red band Deadpool trailer. The film deviates from other Marvel films in that it is clearly aimed at an adult audience with the violence and swearing. As such, it offers something different in the cramped superhero marketplace. Deadpool is set for release on 4th February 2016. My birthday, in case you were wondering.

Hitman: Agent 47 Trailer

The trailer for Hitman: Agent 47 certainly looks action-packed. The film is based on a games franchise, of which I know only that you have to toss a coin to distract people. Starring Rupert Friend and Zachary Quinto, Hitman: Agent 47 will hit the big screen on 27th August 2015.

The Martian Video

This video, found in the Ares archive, reveals a bit about the main characters in Ridley Scott’s upcoming The Martian. The film is about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars, and the efforts to rescue him. The all-star cast includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Martian is released in UK cinemas on 30th September 2015.

Crimson Peak Poster

Crimson Peak poster

Here is the latest image from Guillermo del Toro’s latest Crimson Peak. The film is about a young woman who is swept away to an old house which is full of mystery. The gothic horror stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Crimson Peak creeps its way onto the big screen on 16th October 2015.

The Intern Trailer

The Intern stars Robert De Niro as the older intern of high-flyer Anne Hathaway. The film is the latest from writer-director Nancy Myers, and seems to have a similar style to her previous output. The Intern will be released in UK cinemas on 2nd October 2015.

Zoolander 2 Trailer

Here is the teaser for comedy sequel Zoolander 2. It reveals little about the plot of the new film, but reassures that the style of comedy has not changed. Reuniting Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell, Zoolander 2 is set for release in February 2016.

Black Mass Trailer

Here is the trailer for Black Mass, which focuses on notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Starring Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch, it will interesting to see how the film compares to other gangster movies. Black Mass will be released in cinemas on 13th November 2015.