Johnny Depp Menaces in New ‘Black Mass’ Trailer

Johnny Depp comes across as the most intimidating dinner guest in the world in a recently released trailer for the upcoming crime drama Black Mass. In the film, a balding, blue-eyed Depp plays the role of real-life gangster Whitey Bulger, a notorious south Boston crime boss.

As seen in the trailer above, a friendly conversation about a family recipe takes a dark turn when Depp undergoes a sudden mood swing that recalls Joe Pesci’s famous “I’m funny how?” scene in Goodfellas. And just like Pesci does in Goodfellas, Depp lets the tension build to unbearable levels before breaking into laughter at his dinner companion’s discomfort.

Based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, Black Mass is the second major motion picture to feature a character based on Whitey Bulger.

The character played by Jack Nicholson in the Martin Scorsese-directed film The Departed was also based on Bulger, although the movie’s plot was borrowed from the Hong Kong cop thriller Infernal Affairs. The Scott Cooper-directed Black Mass, on the other hand, purports to be a true account of Bulger’s life as a violent South Boston crime boss and FBI informant.

Besides offering a promising Goodfellas-type vibe, Black Mass may also herald a return to form for Depp. The three-time Oscar nominee has starred in several critically panned box office failures over the past several years, such as The Lone Ranger, Transcendence, and Mortdecai.

However, judging by the intensity of Depp’s performance in the trailer, Black Mass may help erase the memory of his recent flops. Depp has previously had great success with other roles in films about organized crime, including as an undercover FBI agent in Donnie Brasco and as a notorious Great Depression-era bank robber in Public Enemies.

Source: Cross Creek Pictures

While Depp’s character only hints at the possibility of violence in his dinner table exposition on the dangers of spilling family secrets, other trailer snippets reveal that there will be plenty of scenes featuring straightforward murder and mayhem.

We also catch glimpses of some of the movie’s other stars: Benedict Cumberbatch as Whitey’s state senator brother, Joel Edgerton as Whitey’s FBI handler, Jesse Plemons as Whitey’s right-hand man, and Sienna Miller as Whitey’s longtime girlfriend.

With a 98% “want to see” rating from users at Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear that the trailer for Black Mass is already generating positive buzz with movie fans. Of course, trailers can sometimes be deceptive, and we’ll have a better idea of just how good Black Mass is once the reviews start rolling in.

Either way, it’s refreshing for fans of Depp to see the actor once again tackle a serious dramatic role, rather than the lighter fare he has been dabbling in.

Black Mass lands in U.S. theaters on September 18.

All movie cast, crew, and awards information are courtesy of IMDb.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS                             

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