Jimmy may be a more grounded role than Depp’s recent outré creations (say, Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean“), but they’re still of a piece.
This weekend, with the paint still wet from its Venice Film Festival premiere, you get to check out Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass” for yourselves (our review is here). Most of the violence occurs off-camera, but you wouldn’t call the film tasteful: The sound of a young prostitute (Juno Temple) gasping for breath as Bulger squeezes the life out of her is almost more harrowing than anything Cooper might have chosen to show.
A movie about gangster James “Whitey” Bulger’s violent reign as leader of Boston’s criminal underworld got its first screening in the state Tuesday.
“I approached James Bulger as a human being who is multi-faceted and had a side to him that was human, loving and all that”. Whitey Bulger pulled off an almost magical disappearing act, and then managed to stay hidden for years. I mean could you imagine somebody going up for trial for 20 murders and getting 12 years?
The 52-year-old actor said Bulger – a member of the Boston mob known as the Winter Hill Gang – declined to meet him in person. The scene where he comes on to Connolly’s wife is so unnerving that many moviegoers may wish their local theatres had showers installed so they could immediately wash off the ick.
Thankfully, Depp keeps pulling the viewer back in-particularly when interacting with Edgerton, who is by turns hilarious and pitiable as a puffed-up glad-hander who proves to be nowhere near as bright as he thinks he is.
Cooper and Depp both reached out to Bulger, now 86 and incarcerated in a Florida penitentiary, in hopes of sitting down with him, if only to soak up his personality and mannerisms. Still, Depp paints an exceptionally scary portrait of a serial killer, a walking moral abyss wearing a gold chain and a cheap jacket. While Black Mass is far from being a pack of lies, Cooper was able to craft a visually arresting aesthetic with cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi (the pair previously worked together on Out of the Furnace). But I kept thinking of another actor who had played similar roles or types, and who had perhaps done it better. “There were people in South Boston who told me that (Bulger’s) eyes were so piercingly blue and crystalline that people would have a difficult time maintaining eye contact with him because they’d just peer through your soul”.
“I’m gagging for it. It’s been the thrust of my interest since day one, when I was about 19. Really dedicated to his work and I’m excited for everyone to see him in this film”. Bulger also could be incredibly sensitive when it came to family and friends.