Black Mass (2015)

blkms_1sht_tsr_intl_2764x4096_master

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf. (IMDb)
Depp puts in a good turn as the menacing lead (the “I thought it was a family secret” moment is excellent), but while Bulger’s biography is well-paced and structured, there’s nothing unique or spectacular to separate it from other similar gangster movies; it covers all the bases but never soars high or digs deep. Instead, it’s Edgerton’s slimy FBI agent that steals the show, particularly in the final act as he starts to flounder in his falsities. A better “cop” flick than a “robber” one.
7/10 (Good)

Mystic River (2003)

tumblr_static_mystic-river

With a childhood tragedy that overshadowed their lives, three men are reunited by circumstance when one has a family tragedy. (IMDb)
Fantastic turns from Robbins (the troubled childhood victim), Bacon (the steady cop), and Penn in particular (the tough but broken dad) headline this dark-toned, grungy suburbia-set film that fleshes out its tense murder mystery plot with torturous character drama surrounding three old friends brought together by ugly tragedy. The final twist is a little jarring and unconvincing at first but it sinks in with further thought, and its agonizing emotional aftermath solidifies it within the script.
8/10 (Great)

 

Flatliners (1990)

flatliners_xlg

Four Medical students experiment on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives. (IMDb)
The main cast is excellent here as five ambitious medical students attempting to experience life after death. Tense medical drama blends with nightmarish scenes of memories and hallucinations as side effects are revealed, creating a powerful sense of discomfort aided by gloomy cinematography, while the emotional quests for resolve that follow add yet another dimension to the film. Puzzlingly, Joe’s story is left hanging, but the film remains a great, unsettling thriller with a cohesive feel.
7.5/10 (Really Good)