It’s only been a day since the Black Mass trailer was revealed, and already people are horrified.
But they’re horrified in a good way.
They’re horrified because Depp is almost unrecognizable in this film. Yes, Depp has played some pretty far-out characters in the past (Sweeney Todd and Willy Wonka spring to mind) but those have involved elaborate costuming and makeup. The Black Mass trailer shows Johnny looking terrifyingly normal, and it’s not an easy sight.
The one-scene trailer (which has been applauded in itself) shows Depp portraying real-life infamous crime boss Whitey Bulger.
In the two-minute Black Mass trailer, Depp as Bulger sits down to a steak dinner that quickly moves along the spectrum from friendly to terrifying.
If there’s anything about the Black Mass trailer that would alert someone to the identity of the main actor, it would be Depp’s piercing and unrelenting stare, made even more sinister by the light-blue shade of his normally dark-brown eyes.
The story follows Bulger as he makes the transition from being one of the most horrifically violent criminals in the South Boston history books to an informant who ultimately leads the FBI to take down an established and powerful Mafia family. If you’re not convinced about the extent of Bulger’s violence, consider this.
- Whitey Bulger was, for a time, listed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, right below Osama bin Laden;
- The film is classified R for “Brutal Violence”.
Boston.com had some interesting remarks about why the Black Mass trailer is so blood-chilling. Not only is the film based on real events, this particular dinner scene also really happened. Sitting across from Bulger in this scene is FBI Agent John Morris, with John Connolly, another FBI agent, at the head of the table. Morris had hosted a number of dinner parties at his home for Morris, Connolly, and their associates – much to the disdain of Morris’s wife. While FBI agents needed to work closely with their informants, it was incredibly unusual for an agent to invite an informant, especially one as dangerous and cold-blooded as Bulger, into their home. Now the gangsters-turned-informants knew where Morris lived and had direct access to his family.
What makes this one-scene trailer so haunting is that it shows the extent to which Bulger had infiltrated the FBI’s inner circle. We witness arguably Boston’s most brutal, bloody killer and his mobster friends eating dinner in the home of an FBI agent. Couple that with Johnny Depp’s ice-cold stare, and you’ve got a winning recipe for a thrilling movie.
As Digital Trends noted, if the film is anything like the trailer, we can expect to see award nominations in Johnny Depp’s near future.