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“Don´t read everything it says in the papers”
– James “Whitey” Bulgur


Told through the right hand men of FBI’s Most Wanted for 12 years, only being second to Osama Bin Laden and with a capture reward that is as high as it gets. Director Scott Cooper´s (Out of the Furnace + Crazy Heart) crime-drama biopic tells the story about three boys of the streets of South Boston that grow up to become the main men that changed the landscape of the city forever. In particular one person, the man that became the most notorious gangster in Americas history, James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp). The ice-cold ruthless killer that led the Irish Mob from South Boston known as “Southie” develops from a small time crook to become the true Kingpin of Boston while his brother William “Billy Boy” Bulger (Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes the other most powerful person of the city as State Senator. John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) returns in 1981 to Boston as the top FBI agent with a mission to bring down the Cosa Nostra led by the Italian Mafia brothers Angiulo in Boston´s North End. Allying with the boy that once saved him out of a fight during their childhood years, and helping his brother Billy run for office years later, while staying loyal to the law of the streets built on trust honor and blood, his respect towards the brothers together with their bond from their younger years creates an unbreakable pack. As Whitey tells it, ” We will get the FBI to fight our wars!”.

After Whitey´s son dies in 1982 and his mother in 1985 he truly looses it all and with nothing else to cherish apart from his crime syndicate he becomes the true drug lord of Boston and his alliance with the FBI makes him untouchable. The Irish psychopath was involved in everything from drugs, racketeering, inciting, and killing to joining forces with IRA supporting them in the fight against the English in Northern Ireland. When the real truth gets out exposing how deep and wide spread it was, it all starts spinning out of control and the people involved can´t handle the heat when the people high up want answers. To protect themselves they start spilling the beans on everything and everyone. The American government want people held responsible and someone has to pay for it. Can the loyalty towards Whitey and between the three stay true or do they all loose out in the end?

“You were just saying? “Just saying” gets people sent away. “Just saying” got me a nine-year stretch in Alcatraz, you understand? So, “just saying” can get you buried real quick.”

Both Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton do great comebacks with impressive Oscar-nomination performances based on the New York Times Best Seller “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob” written by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. Dakota Johnson returns as Whitey´s wife Lindsey Cyr since her latest blockbuster movie Fifty Shades of Grey. Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Peter Sarsgaard (Pawn Sacrifice), Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Julianne Nicholson, Rory Cochrane, Adam Scott and Corey Stoll also feature.

I am no big fan of the praised The Departed which is another story based on Whitey with Jack Nicholson playing the James “Whitey” Bulger character and Leonardo Di Caprio with Matt Damon in the other lead roles. While Black Mass doesn´t reach its true potential for me it still delivers a dark and grim true reality completed with good performances by the entire cast. I will definitely be watching this one again though when it is released on Bluray. Black Mass is a great film with some chilling scenes that gets you off your seat, though it lacks the natural flow and speed to hit the status of a true iconic gangster film. Saying that would Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Casino, The Departed) have made an even better film out of it?

For more on James “Whitey” Bulgur and the biggest crime case of Boston checkout Joe Berlingers (The Paradise Lost films): WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VS JAMES J. BULGER from 2014.


“Strictly Criminal”- Stephen Flemmi on Whitey”



BY PETER A ELDON. 2015-09-22.

“Things aren’t always what they seem to be”. – Peter A Eldon