Archive for the ‘Scott Cooper’ Category

The Winter Hill Reign

Black Mass

black_mass_ver3

Director: Scott Cooper

Cast: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, David Harbour, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Nicholson, Juno Temple.

black_mass_ver4

Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper brings to life a gripping and violent cinematic adaptation of the 2001 non-fiction book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill based upon the exploits of Irish-American crime lord and fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger played with a menace not seen on screen since Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, by Oscar nominee Johnny Depp.

black_mass_ver6

Cooper assembles an all-star cast including Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate) as Whitey Bulger’s brother and senator William Bulger, Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Warrior) in a career defining performance as conflicted FBI agent John Connolly, Dakota Johnson as James Bulger’s wife Lindsey and David Harbour (Quantum of Solace) as Connolly’s co-worker John Morris.

black_mass_ver9

Audiences should look out for Kevin Bacon as FBI boss Charles McGuire and a stunning cameo by Peter Sarsgaard (Blue Jasmine) as coked up Florida businessman Brian Halloran and Corey Stoll as the non-nonsense prosecutor Fred Whysak.

black_mass_ver10

James “Whitey” Bulger superbly played by Depp in his most menacing performance yet, is a pure psychopath whose relentless ambition is to rid his own South Boston gang, known as the Winter Hill gang not only of informants, who he casually kills at the drop of a hat but of their main opposition the Italian mafia in the form of the Angiulo Brothers which control North Boston.

Bulger and his band of thugs control South Boston and he soon becomes a so-called informant at the request of oily FBI agent Connolly whose childhood loyalty to Bulger is blinded by the real monster that Bulger has become. This is a man who strangles a prostitute with his bare hands, who casually shoots his friend in the head after a bar room altercation, yet will simultaneously sit down and play cards with his elderly mother. Insight in to the source of Bulger’s psychopathic behaviour comes from a line in Black Mass, when he admits to doing trials for LSD during an eight year prison stint in Alcatraz and Levenworth.

black_mass_ver5

The tipping point in Bulger’s blood thirst occurs when his young son unexpectedly dies from Reyes syndrome after an allergic reaction to aspirin. Bulger’s manipulation of his alliance with Connolly is brilliantly portrayed in Black Mass with Australian actor Joel Edgerton giving a remarkable performance akin to that of Matt Damon in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.

Connolly is heavily beholden to Bulger and his professional and personal judgement suffers after his close association with such a violent mobster, highlighting the extent of corruption endemic in American cities in the 1980’s. Even Connolly’s wife Marianne played by Julianne Nicholson last seen in August: Osage County remarks on her husband’s new clothes and his flashy almost cocky swagger.

Joel Edgerton deserves an Oscar nomination for his role in Black Mass as does Johnny Depp, although at times the menace portrayed by Depp obliterates any audience empathy for his character. For James “Whitey” Bulger is a true psychopath, blood thirsty, unpredictable, paranoid and completely ruthless. Audiences should be warned of some exceptionally violent scenes in Black Mass, akin to Scorsese’s Goodfellas or Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

black_mass_ver8

Scott Cooper skilfully directs Black Mass and uses the multi-talented cast to bring to cinema the true story of American gangsters in South Boston in the 1970’s and 1980’s while remaining faithful to the source material, based on a meticulously researched screenplay by Jez Butterworth and Mark Mallouk.

Whether Black Mass will garner nominations in the upcoming awards season remains to be seen, but as a film it is worth watching and brilliantly acted. Highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Kill the Messenger and The Departed.

 

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
November 2018
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
  • IDFA Forum: New Doc ‘Tracks’ Sheppard Sisters’ Sprint into the Spotlight (EXCLUSIVE)
    Before they appeared on the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” before the TV appearances and red-carpet galas and the surprise home makeover from Tyler Perry, the Sheppard sisters were living in a homeless shelter in Brooklyn with their single mother. How they overcame adversity and raced their way into the limelight is the subject of “Sisters […]
    John Hopewell
  • IDFA: French Helmer Mathieu Rochet ‘Chasin’’ Trap Music to Its Source (EXCLUSIVE)
    When an offbeat daydreamer is sent by the God of Rap to save the world from an epidemic of trap music, he travels to its Atlanta source in search of a hip-hop savior: OutKast, the pioneering Southern rap duo that all but vanished from the music scene a decade ago. Described by director Mathieu Rochet […]
    John Hopewell
  • Longtime RTL Exec Anke Schäferkordt Steps Down
    Anke Schäferkordt, the former co-CEO of media giant RTL Group, is stepping down as chief of the group’s Germany division and exiting the company after nearly three decades. Schäferkordt will leave RTL on Dec. 31. The company said Schäferkordt’s departure was a mutual and amicable decision. Bernd Reichart, the current managing director of the German channel […]
    elskes
  • IDFA Film Review: ‘The Border Fence’
    In the opening shot of “The Border Fence,” the camera straddles the invisible line between Austria and Italy, watching without comment as a man blithely walks from one country to the other. This is as it should be in modern Europe, where a heavy influx of refugees and migrants from countries devastated by war and […]
    Peter Debruge
  • Sony Poaches Sky Exec Holly Comiskey to Be Country Manager for U.K., Ireland
    Sony Pictures Television has hired Holly Comiskey as its country manager for the U.K. and Ireland. The new SPT recruit will join the studio in January from Sky, where she was the head buyer for the pay-TV operator’s Sky Cinema service. Comiskey will report to Mark Young, SPT’s executive vice president for Western Europe. “Holly […]
    Stewart Clarke
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90