Thursday, September 17, 2015

Black Mass [2015]

MPAA (R) CNS/USCCB (L)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (0 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (M. Zoller-Seitz) review
AVClub (J. Hessenger) review

Black Mass [2015] (directed by Scott Cooper screenplay by Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of the Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Dick Lehr [GR] [Amzn] [IMDb] and Gerald O'Neill [GR] [Amzn] [IMDb]) is another "mob film."  From perhaps a historical point of view, it'd be an interesting one to see.

But IMHO it has a needlessly provocative title and like other "mob films" it can not but glorify the mob or otherwise organized crime.  And I just don't believe that the mob / criminality needs any more glamorizing publicity.  These films make people start to think that "organized crime," while perhaps conceding that it is Evil [TM], is also somehow "quite normal."

We don't need people -- young, middle aged, or old -- to be seduced into believing that acting like "Little Sopranos" is normal, let alone the way things should be.

Zero stars.

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1 comment:

  1. Fr., did you see this film? It does have glorification of violence (for the morally-untrained audience member, probably), but the primary focus of the film is how Bulger's friend John Connolly uses his position as an FBI agent to give protection for his childhood friend and how this "cover-up" of sorts gradually is brought into light. The partnership came about because Bulger's rivals (Italian mob) were more prominent and John Connolly was hoping that Bulger would help the FBI (through Connolly) get the Italian mob in exchange for Connolly drawing the bureau's attention away from Bulger (which, naturally, comes to an end). The film's clarity in that storyline definitely outweighs the glorification of violence in the film, especially since Johnny Depp's Bulger is effectively portrayed as a psychopath who could snap at any second.

    Please don't shun this one film after having been able to review ones from the past.

    And by the way, the title "Black Mass"--while it is what satanists call their ritual--is actually short for "Black Massachusetts". "Mass." is an abbreviation. And, if you asked me, this is one of the better provocative titles since it actually connects with something not so provocative (i.e. the name of an American state).