The Most Notorious Gangster in American History may just be about to give one of its most popular actors a much-needed renaissance. After Transcendence and Mortdecai flopped at the box office, people have been wondering, ‘does Johnny Depp still have it?’ Black Mass may be just the film for Depp to prove that his talents are still worth forking out for a trip to the cinema
Just as Black Mass looks to be a film perfectly in tune with the era it’s set in; 1970s Boston, so the film may prove to have an audience all too ready to lap up its story. For James ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s notoriety was borne of his links with the political establishment in America. Besides John Connolly, the FBI agent who formed an alliance with Bulger to eliminate the Italian mafia (in reality doing little more than helping Bulger’s own rise to power), there’s also his brother, William Bulger. Lawyer, Politician, State Senator- William’s legacy is almost as grim as that of his brother. Where the elder Bulger will in Prison till the day he dies, the younger has seen his achievements, and legacy decimated through his loyalty to James.
Already there is talk of how Depp might be line to collect another best actor nomination at next year’s Oscars.
Depp, seems the perfect man to embody such a character and to bring life to the world Bulger created around his own infamy. Of the two official trailers released so far, the first depicts what might well be a last supper. As Bulger congratulates another man on a great steak, Connolly sits there, silent, a mere spectator, as the conversation takes a darker turn, with talk of family secrets becoming a theatre of threat and intimidation. In the second, amorality is at the forefront, with that classic lesson of criminality on show- if no one sees you do it; then you didn’t do it.
Depp seems to be playing a character that is altogether different from his previous, arguably samey personas.
Already there is talk of how Depp might be line to collect another best actor nomination at next year’s Oscars, and if the trailers are anything to go by, his performance will ensure good odds on him collecting the award. Interestingly Depp seems to be playing a character that is altogether different from his previous, arguably samey personas. Beyond Depp, Joel Edgerton as John Connolly and Benedict Cumberbatch as William Bulger could easily find themselves with a nomination for best supporting actor, but although the academy might recognise their talents, when the film comes out all attention will on Depp as this is undoubtedly his vehicle and could signal a renaissance for his career which, in all honesty, it probably needs.
By Gareth Wood