|That's not a smile that should make you feel comfortable|
Other than this, everything else works great. Casting wise, Johnny Depp as Jimmy Bulger is jarringly different from recent acting choices and it is a delight to see him as the fouled-mouthed Irishman. Depp's voice is grainy sounding, his receding blonde hairline and cloudy blue eyes really make this something to remember. Even though the background to Bulger's eventual trademark characteristics are not expanded upon, Depp's performance is dumbfoundingly captivating. For such an antagonistic character, the writing and Depp combined are able to give even Bulger small tidbits of humanity that don't even seem possible. The reason why this is almost shocking is because most audiences are not supposed to feel sympathy for such a character. What's weird is that there are times where it seemed as if Bulger did have his soft moments. For example, when Bulger makes a promise about a certain topic, he honestly sounds like he's giving a scout's honor. Then again, it was hard to tell because of how deceitful his personality was. That alone is demonstrated quite early on. This is how devious the writing and the character is.
Along side Depp is Joel Edgerton as John Connolly, an old friend of Bulger who feels he owes him a favor. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Bulger's brother Billy who also knows Connolly and frequently associates with him. Actors Jesse Plemons and Rory Cochrane play Bulger's henchmen who show they are just as loyal to Bulger as is Connolly and Billy. There's also scenes with Peter Sarsgaard, Kevin Bacon, David Harbour and Adam Scott who work along side Connolly in the F.B.I. agency. The majority of these characters get a good dose of character development and each actor performs exceptionally well. The violence although not gruesome, is certainly brutal no doubt. The killings are mostly direct and to the point about what the job is and there are some that will make the viewer hope they don't ever have a run in with a character like Bulger. Not even a can of spinach would save somebody against Bulger; contempt is what he lives on.
|Listening in on Bulger rumors|
The only thing that sticks out as of needs for improvement was explaining how Jimmy Bulger got his motivations to become what he's known for. That's not much to say though with a talented supporting cast, gritty violence, effective camerawork, tragic sounding music and a defining performance from Johnny Depp that is quite opposite from the majority of his previous roles.
Points Earned --> 8:10