BLACK MASS Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) helms this biographical film about South Boston criminal Whitey Bulger and his time as an informant for the FBI in the late 1970’s. The film features an all star cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Johnson, and Peter Sarsgaard. Professional changeling Johnny Depp goes bald, puts in blue contact lenses, and conjures up a Boston accent to play the lead role.
As expected, Depp does an amicable job as does the rest of the cast. But this story is lacking something. I love a good mob movie, and Black Mass features most of the good elements of one, but somehow the structuring makes everything feel a bit dull and dated. Sure, this is a true story and the filmmakers are relatively at the mercy of the actual events that took place, but one can only think that better pacing and perhaps a livelier soundtrack would’ve made this film stand out more. It isn’t boring, but it does end up being a bit forgettable when stacked up to other films in the genre. FINAL GRADE: B-
THE WALK 3D There’s a reason I included the ‘3D’ moniker. For the most part, 3D technology has become an tired gimmick used only to squeeze every dollar out of moviegoers. But every once in a while, when the technology is used to its actual potential, a movie is made that is meant to be viewed in the format (Tron: Legacy, Ant-Man). And seeing the movie without the 3D means doing yourself a disservice. The Walk is one of those movies.
Telling the true story of high-wire artist Phillipe Petit’s daring 1974 walk between the twin towers of The World Trade Center, this film is one of the reasons why 3D filmmaking was created. The imagery creates a true sense of vertigo and does nothing but add to the movie’s beautifully intense tone. But the awe inspiring visuals aren’t the only reason to see the movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, through a relatively mediocre French accent, does a wonderful job of bringing passion and charisma to the screen that feeds off on the rest of the cast. It results in a movie that at times feels more like Ocean’s Eleven than a biopic. The fact that these events actually took place is a mere footnote to the overall tone and scope of a surprisingly satisfying two hour journey. FINAL GRADE: A-