Forget all the cartoonish junk Johnny Depp has starred in the last few years. The Pirates of the Caribbean films. The Lone Ranger. Transcendence. Mortdecai. All of them. Because the Johnny Depp of old, the electric star of Donnie Brasco, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Blow has returned, and he is one mean s.o.b. in the first Black Mass trailer.
Depp is barely recognizable playing Whitey Bulger, a real-life mobster/informant for the FBI in 1970s Boston. The trailer shows quick, fleeting images of the fantastic cast, which includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, Adam Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Johnson and Corey Stoll, but that’s just icing on the cake. Even without that cast, Black Mass is a must-see.
The majority of the trailer, one of the most suspenseful in a long time, shows off the different sides of Bulger, who could be charming one second, then have someone fearing for their life the next. The mobster is sitting at a table with friends, asking one of them how they cooked the steak Bulger’s eating. Though the friend insists it’s a family secret, Bulger persists until he gets his answer. Then things turn sour. Fast. If this guy gave up a “family secret” so easily, how easily could he give up Bulger? It’s a fantastic, harrowing scene that beautifully sets up the feel of Black Mass.
Going off of the two minute trailer, this looks like Depp’s best work in years. Like some of the other characters from Depp’s past, he’s disappeared into the role, with a balding hairline, blue eyes, terrible teeth, and a nicotine-coated voice that’s downright spooky. Leave it to director Scott Cooper, the man who helped Jeff Bridges win an Oscar for Crazy Heart, to get the very best out of Depp.
After a string of disappointments and outright duds, Black Mass looks to be the career resuscitation that’s eluded Johnny Depp for years. The film is scheduled for release on September 18.