Black Mass is Johnny Depp as you have never seen him before. It tells the story of Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger who at the beginning of the film set in 1975 is a small time criminal. He heads up the infamous Winter Hill gang in South Boston and controls the majority of the criminal activities that go on there. However he does have one rival, the Angiulo Brothers who threaten his criminal master plan.”
Bulger, surrounded by some of the best in the business, including his right hand man Stephen Flemmi (Rory Cochrane) and Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons), feels threatened when the Angiulo Brothers murder one of his gang. Enter John Connolly, a FBI agent with ties to South Boston, as well as to Jimmy and his brother Billy. John offers Jimmy a way out. A plan to outsmart the Angiulo Brothers and still keep his control on the criminal underworld of South Boston. All he has to do is become an informant for the FBI.
Using the protection of the FBI as a cover for his crimes, Jimmy quickly becomes unhinged and out of control. His state of mind is only worsened when his son dies suddenly, leaving him ripped apart and out looking for revenge. Connolly becomes closer to Jimmy and his gang and comes under severe scrutiny from his boss. When Connolly begins demanding information from Jimmy, he finally is able to get the information they need to take down the Anguilo Brothers leaving the whole of South Boston wide open for Jimmy to move in.
Ultimately, the downfall of the whole operation only begin to happen when a new prosecutor Fred Wyshak is hired, and he begins to look into Jimmy and all the dealings the FBI has with him. Connolly attempts to make friends with Wyshak but he is not interested and demands they arrest Whitey. On closer inspection Wyshak and his team uncover that all the so-called tips from Whitey were actually copied from earlier low-level informant reports.
Up to this point, Connolly’s partner had covered for him in all his dealings with Whitey but with the net closing in fast, he goes to the press who publish a front page story on Connolly and Whitey’s relationship which causes Whitey to lose all credibility with his gang. It is the beginning of the end for him.
Black Mass is ultimately a story about friendship and how it can benefit or destroy a person’s life. It is also a story about love, although with the amount of death and destruction it is hard to see how. But despite his nature Whitey does have a caring side to him. His bond with his brother, played by Benedict Cumberbatch is very strong as is his bond with is mother shown by the fact that after killing someone, he goes home to have tea and cake with her.
Black Mass is filled with a star-studded cast from Kevin Bacon to Benedict Cumberbatch, but it is Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jimmy Whitey Bulger that will have you on the edge of your seat. It is one of the best performances I have ever seen from him.