Black Mass: A good cast mostly wasted

In partnership with Carter Film and Ideas, The JailHouse will be publishing the works of cinephile Ben Carter. You can find the original posts on his blog.


Black Mass is one of those movies I had to see when it was released. This was Johnny Depp’s welcomed return to movies that required him to showcase his acting talents. I believe Depp’s performance was compelling and many times altogether frightening. His portrayal of Whitey Bulger made his character of John Dillinger seem like a pleasant guy to be around. In Black Mass, he acted like he had some kind of pressure on his brain, and the slightest breeze or misguided stare would send the nearest person into a shallow grave.

The supporting cast list was packed full with some of the best actors around today. Benedict Cumberbatch, who has more than proved himself in his previous films, was barely utilized in Black Mass. He had a Boston accent in the movie, but he hardly raised his voice or said anything interesting.
Kevin Bacon
made some appearances for an insignificant role. Joel Edgerton had the most screen time besides Depp, and he mostly just acted squirmy and scared of Whitey Bulger. Excluding Depp, I would say Jesse Plemons and Peter Sarsgaard had the more difficult roles. Some of you might be scratching your head as to who these two actors are, but they are notable actors who deserve lead roles.

​I would recommend waiting to rent this movie before heading to the theater and spending your money. Honestly, it’s not a movie that you see for the special effects, so maybe watch it at home instead. With a cast like this, the director could have accomplished so much more if he hadn’t put Depp in the spotlight and detracted from the actors around him.

*Image from Black Mass Movie

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