After hearing so much praise about this film and Johnny Depp's performance in particular I must have been expecting too much since what I saw was just average. Nothing extraordinary about the way he played his role. The movie itself is a disaster.
It's slow, boring and doesn't do anything other than fill you up with disgust for the main characters. Whenever things got interesting scenes got cut off so that we never got to see real explosive dynamics. Everything was resolved quickly and casually and none of what occurs truly matters since after 15 minutes or so you will know how the tale will end. You don't have to know the real story to see where it is heading. Maybe I have seen too many gangster movies and then it becomes harder to be surprised. Although not too long ago I watched Blood Ties and I happened to enjoy that one a whole lot more. At least that offered something to hold your interest which was the relationship between two brothers. In this film there is a lot of talk about loyalty and friendship but none of the characters good or bad know the true meaning of that. These people aren't loyal or friends. They are only thinking of themselves and would not think twice to do whatever it takes to stay on top of things. Maybe this is one of the major reasons why I dislike it. It's far too dark and takes itself far too serious. I get it. These were real gangsters who were the most ruthless and despicable people you can imagine. But come on even the worst of them had another side to them. Here they are all on the evil path. If you are going for realism then you do have to balance out the characters. The Godfather does this. Goodfellas does this. And most other good gangster flicks do. We also never get to really get to know the majority of the characters. I understood that Bulger was a menace. But what else? We briefly see that he had a wife and kid and that he cared about them. There must have been something about him that made his wife like him right? We don't get see any of that. With the result that the focus is on the criminal stuff which also is presented like it is an afterthought. I dare you to make sense of the story and the events because apart from me losing interest after only fifteen minutes they don't even try to tie up the events and the scenes. We don't get told how much time has passed which is disorientating and completely confusing. And still I could predict how everything would end.
I don't know who Scot Cooper is. But I did some checking and he does not seem to have that much experience as a director. Which shows. Black Mass is lacking on many fronts. But the worst is that this film is not made with heart. It does not have a soul and personality. It's just a collection of scenes held together by a decent cast that try to do the most with the little they have been given.
Please avoid this. Like I said at the beginning of this review that this is a disaster of a film. Only at very brief times will you feel something. Usually it will be disgust and dislike for Bulger. Other than that there is nothing to feel. And also don't get swayed by the people praising Johnny Depp. He is simply imitating Ray Liotta. Why not hire him in the first place?