Johnny Depp looks for comeback in “Black Mass”


Johnny Depp will be playing an infamous Boston mobster in new movie “Black Mass.”

Nick Mayer, Contributing Writer

In his upcoming film, “Black Mass,” Johnny Depp plays infamous mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. Depp attempts to make a comeback from his recent family oriented films into a similar style from his early days. While he is playing a character type that he is very familiar with,  the gritty and harsh role of a hardened criminal, he is no longer the same Depp that viewers fell in love with. Many actors and actresses change their style throughout their career, but in the case of Depp, he needs to regain his earlier acting chops in order to be successful in his upcoming role.

Many have concerns about the movie due to his recent roles; post 2000 a majority of Depp’s filmography has been  mainly in comedy and movies that target a younger audience where Depp appears to be out of his comfort zone. He doesn’t seem to match the bravado of his earlier acting days where he pushed himself and really became that character he was pretending to be.

In “Black Mass,” the makeup department takes away that family-oriented fun and replaces it with an older and angrier looking Johnny Depp. Depp has a hit or miss history with most of his roles but in general his gangster and criminal roles are the hits.

The majority of his recent roles were the misses of his career. In the beginning of 2015 he starred in a movie titled “Mortdecai.” The movie was a massive flop and received horrible reviews, with Depp playing a Clouseau-like detective trying to recover an artifact in a plot that played out like every “Pink Panther” movie in existence. Not all fault can be given to him though as he did a decent job of getting into character, but the writing lacked substance and  will be in a dollar bin at the grocery store in a few months. “Mortdecai” is only one of his more recent flops and there are many more including “The Lone Ranger” and the newer “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

However, Depp is a much better actor than his recent films show. He starred in the 1997 movie “Donnie Brasco,” which tells the story of an undercover cop who infiltrates a New York mafia and successfully rose through the ranks. This role earned him a nomination for best actor by the Chlotrudis Awards and it was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. One casting that really shows promise is his role in 2009’s  “Public Enemies.” The movie is about the life and death of infamous bank robber John Dillinger and his accomplices Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd. This movie, despite mixed reviews, is considered to be one of Johnny Depp’s best roles. His charm as the volatile gangster made him stand out from an already great cast including award nominated Christian Bale.

Not only did “Public Enemies” tell the story from the villains’ side, but it also made audiences feel for them even though they were bad people who committed horrible crimes against the public and the banks. Audiences feel connected to them, and take pity when something bad happens. It is because of “Public Enemies” that Johnny Depp is seen as a respected actor. “Black Mass” will definitely draw a large crowd similar to “Public Enemies” when it releases Sept. 18.