09/12/15 by Rennie Detore
Judging from his body of work, Johnny Depp, by all accounts, is a superstar.
But even the most famous and talented of actors have been plagued by that part of their career that sends stardom into a certifiable tailspin.
The actor, perhaps best known for his work in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, hasn't had a hit movie in quite some time, and unless he dons the Captain Jack Sparrow outfit again, he may be relegated to the guy who is tabbed as the "he used to be a star and draw money at the box office." Instead, Depp and his career are in the doldrums. Every movie he's put out in the last few years has bombed, and his one lustrous star power is hanging on by a thread.
That's why his latest movie, "Black Mass" is both powerful and poignant, albeit laced with sweet irony as it relates to the career of Depp.
He no longer can rely on his name or the brand that most actors become. Will Smith isn't just "Will Smith" the man, he's the brand, who produces movies and was always one of the more bankable stars in Hollywood. Same with Tom Cruise.
Depp was right up there with them. Was, that is.
"Black Mass" signals a point in Depp's career that is the proverbial crossroads. Another flop and Depp goes about his business, still a rich man in theory but hardly an A lister in terms of recent endeavors. But what Depp needs to ensure longevity is a winner here with "Mass," which by all accounts is stellar work on his part and overall a strong movie in and of itself.
"Black Mass" is Depp, starring as Whitey Bulger, a notorious Irish criminal from the 1970s. Depp nails the character, and he is both chilling and hard to take your eyes off on the screen. For Depp, pulling together a performance like this isn't anything new to him. He's a fine actor who theoretically has opted to make some really bad movies recently.
So can a good movie with a great actor help the latter resurrect a fledgling career?
You'd like to think that Depp is always one wonderful performance away from finding his niche again. He's not like Tom Cruise, who also is in the midst of a downturn at the theater, but mostly because he's never been considered a superb actor and he too is relying, much like Depp with "Pirates," on the "Mission Impossible" franchise every time things go badly.
Depp doesn't want that route, although he'll take it if he needs to.
Let's home for his sake "Mass" is the one that makes the difference so Captain Sparrow can stay docked.
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