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‘Black Mass’ trailer: Johnny Depp goes from small-time crook to kingpin

The life and crimes of James “Whitey” Bulger are at the center of a new trailer for “Black Mass,” director Scott Cooper’s biopic starring a mean-looking, tough-talking Johnny Depp as the notorious South Boston gangster.

“In the beginning, Jim was a small-time player,” partner-in-crime Kevin Weeks (Jesse Plemons) tells the authorities. “The next thing you know, he’s a damn kingpin.”

Bulger, however, didn’t get there without some help: “The FBI let it happen,” Weeks says.

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As the trailer continues with glimpses of Bulger carrying out his ruthless work, FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) emerges, cozying up to both Bulger and his state senator brother, Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch). Together they weave a tangled web, and at one point Bulger boasts of “just getting started.”

Set to make its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, “Black Mass” looks like it could be a return to form for Depp as a heavyweight dramatic actor after critical and commercial disappointments like “Mortdecai” and “Transcendence.” For actor-turned-director Cooper, the movie represents his first big commercial play.

At one point in the trailer, an assistant U.S. attorney played by Corey Stoll asks, “How come no one has nailed Whitey Bulger?” We’ll see soon enough if Depp and Cooper can do just that.

Warner Bros. will release “Black Mass” on Sept. 18.

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