Black Mass appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a quality presentation.
Overall sharpness seemed strong. Only a little softness emerged, so the flick was usually accurate and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.
Colors tended toward amber and/or teal, with a subdued sensibility. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Black Mass, it came with moderate ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion. For instance, violent scenes became a little more involving, and some street/bar/rain segments enjoyed a good sense of place. None of these dazzled, but they added to the overall impact.
Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough, with clean highs and warm lows. The track never became rock-em sock-em, but the mix suited the material.
Three video programs appear. Deepest Cover, Darkest Crime runs 23 minutes and offers comments from director Scott Cooper, producers John Lesher, Patrick McCormick and Brian Oliver, co-authors Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, and actors Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch and Joel Edgerton. The piece looks at Cooper’s approach to the material as well as story/character/script areas, and locations. “Cover” gives us a decent overview but it seems a little more vague than I’d like, so it becomes a fairly average show.
Johnny Depp: Becoming Whitey Bulger lasts 12 minutes, 24 seconds and features Depp, Cooper, Lehr, Cumberbatch, Edgerton, makeup department head Joel Harlow and actors Jesse Plemons, David Harbour and Julianne Nicholson. As implied by the title, “Becoming” focuses on elements required to allow Depp to portray Bulger. Some of the inevitable praise results, but overall this offers a good look at the issues.
Finally, The Manhunt for Whitey Bulger goes for one hour, one minute and 38 seconds. It gives us remarks from Lehr, O’Neill, TV reporter David Boeri, Massachusetts Colonel/Superintendent (Ret.) Thomas J. Foley, Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr, FBI Special Agents Richard Deslauriers, Scott Garriola and Phil Torsney, Massachusetts State Police Det. Lt. Inspector (Ret.) Robert J. Long, FBI Supervisor Special Agent Richard E. Teahan, US Marshal John Gibbons, Princess Eugenia Apartments manager Josh Bond, uand Deputy US Marshal Neil Sullivan.
As expected, “Manhunt” looks at the efforts behind attempts to apprehend Bulger. With more than an hour at its disposal, “Manhunt” gets the time to dig into its subject, and it does so in a satisfying manner.
A second disc provides a DVD copy of Black Mass. It includes “Becoming Whitey Bulger” but it lacks the other extras.
Fans of gangster films will experience déjà vu as they watch Black Mass. Fairly watchable in its own right, the movie loses points due to its derivative nature and lack of real depth. The Blu-ray offers very good picture as well as positive audio and supplements highlighted by an informative historical documentary. Black Mass has its moments but it mostly falls short of its goals.