Black Mass is directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) and stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kevin Bacon. The film tells the story of South Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and his involvement with FBI in order to take down another Mafia family.

The film is greatly adapted from the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Not knowing much about this film and the connection Bulger had with the FBI, it is truly riveting at how corrupt this relationship is. It’s hard to believe that situations like this could actually have gone on.

Though the film marks one of Depp’s most impressive performances in years, the actor who gave me the chills was none other than Joel Edgerton (The Gift, The Great Gatsby).  Edgerton plays the FBI agent John Connolly, who Bulger knew from his childhood days. This is where the story begins to escalate. Edgerton is remarkable at throwing people off the trail, while keeping the alliance with Bulger ongoing.  However, the ongoing alliance proves to be nothing but bad for the FBI, thus leaving FBI boss (Kevin Bacon) on the edge of cutting the connection off. The act of corruption continues to spread like a disease through Connolly’s life, which tears away at the fabric of his marriage to wife Marianne (Julianne Nicholson).

I appreciate films that convey a certain terror to audience members without being obvious. Though there is an excessive amount of violence throughout, Depp seems to be more chilling in his mannerism than taking a gun to a character’s head. I was incredibly impressed with Depp’s performance. After years of Tim Burton films and mounds costumes, it’s nice to see Depp as impressive as this.

Black Mass

Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, and Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kevin Bacon

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Rating: A-