When Scott Cooper’s Black Mass was announced, many criticized the mobster drama for seemingly glorifying the reign of terror that James “Whitey” Bulger carried out across the city of Boston for years even while working as an FBI informant to take down the Italian mob. And, unfortunately, the first full trailer for the pic likely won’t do much to set their minds at ease.
Though Johnny Depp’s transformative portrayal of the gangster certainly paints him as an unsavory, sadistic character, the preview makes the mistake of soundtracking the gangster’s apparent invincibility and penchant for brutality with Yelawolf’s “Till It’s Gone,” a pulse-pounding track that romanticizes the dangerous nature of his criminal lifestyle.
Still, though Black Mass isn’t looking like the most sensitive treatment of Bulger’s story, especially given that the families of many of his victims still grieve and suffer today as a direct result of his actions, it’s at least a valuable opportunity for some talented thesps to stretch their dramatic muscles. Depp is almost unrecognizable in the lead role, and he’s bitten into the gangster’s most minute mannerisms with a skill that seems to scream Oscar.
Depp aside, the pic stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Corey Stoll, Jesse Plemons, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Sienna Miller, Adam Scott, Juno Temple, Rory Cochrane, David Harbour, Erica McDermott, Julianne Nicholson, James Russo, Jeremy Strong, Brad Carter and W. Earl Brown.
Here’s the official synopsis:
In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.
Black Mass opens September 18.