Depp steals show in criminal drama


photo by Wikipedia user Jbarta James “Whitey” Bulger gets his booking photograph taken at Alcatraz in 1959. “Black Mass” was based off of Bulger’s life.

Rose Sacco, Verge Designer

With a countless number of roles under his belt, Johnny Depp is a chameleon.

Really though, how is it that Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka are all played by the same person?

Depp continuously goes from one end of the spectrum to the other and embodies his characters to the fullest extent.

In his newest crime drama, “Black Mass,” based on a true story, Depp takes on the role of James “Whitey” Bulger, one of South Boston’s most notorious mobsters.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, Massachusetts was home to two very different brothers: Whitey, who was head of the Winter Hill Gang, and Billy Bulger, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who served as the president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

While Billy manned the politics, he still knew of his brother’s evil, murderous ways.

Billy played coy throughout the whole movie, caught between wanting to stick by his brother’s side and also not wanting to tarnish his reputation as a state leader.

Childhood friend, and now FBI agent, John Connolly, played by Joel Edgerton, approaches Whitey in the beginning of the movie and offers him a deal.

Connolly wants to become the hero FBI agent in his district and take down the Italian mob that, coincidentally, is moving in on Whitey’s Irish gang’s turf.

Both agree to trade secrets on the Italian gang and ultimately end their run in South Boston.

This seems like a win/win situation for both men, but it isn’t long before this deal starts to unravel as the Winter Hill gang and Connolly are both doing dirty work.

“Black Mass” is the classic case of becoming what you surround yourself with.

Depp shines the brightest in the movie, even next to big names such as Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard.

Although I sat rows back from the movie screen, I winced and cowered as Depp would choke his victims until their very last breath or pull their teeth out one by one with large pliers.

He puts the fear of God into not only his gang members, but to the viewers as well, simply with one menacingly glare.

One major flaw of “Black Mass” was Depp’s makeup.

It threw me off a little when I saw caked-on pale foundation as well as clearly fake gray-ish blue contacts.

I understand that Depp had to copy Whitey’s Irish-descent creamy skin as well as his piercing eyes, but when I have seen high school play’s starring actors with better contouring skills compared to this multi-million dollar given movie, something is wrong.

Overall, the movie took me back to when The Soprano’s graced HBO viewers’ eyes.

“Black Mass” was a standout role for Depp to take and I foresee some nominations in his future.

I give the movie four out of five stars.

Rose Sacco can be reached  at 581-2812 or [email protected].