The film is an adaptation of the 2000 book by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, which documented Bulger’s stronghold over the Boston area in the 1970s, an era in which distinguishing the good guys from the bad was virtually impossible.
Bulger spent decades in hiding, appearing as No. 2 on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for 12 years before he was finally captured with his girlfriend in Southern California 2011. At the time of Bulger’s arrest, only Osama bin Laden’s reward for information leading to capture was larger. After a long and high-profile trial, Bulger was found guilty in connection with 11 murders and given two life sentences plus five years.
The cinematography is top notch. The use of closeups in some of Depp’s scenes is a wise move. It goes a long way in highlighting the subdued nature of his act.
David Rosenbloom’s editing could have been better. The aforementioned intimate scenes coud have been shortened.
On the whole, the Scott Cooper-directed ‘Black Mass’ is an ambitious attempt at storytelling which could have been a mesmorising film had its talented actors been given ample scope and time to strike up a crackling onscreen rapport.