Magazine October 19, 2015, Issue

Bedeviled

Johnny Depp in Black Mass (Warner Bros.)

Black Mass, in which a cadaverous Johnny Depp portrays James “Whitey” Bulger, the famous Boston gangster and FBI informant, is the kind of movie that gives competence a bad name. It is a very well-made film: handsome, never boring, with strong performances in almost all the major parts. Yet it’s also deeply disappointing, a film that hits its marks but never figures out exactly what it wants us to care about, or why it exists as a story at all.

Which is unfortunate, because the real-life Bulger story is strange, fascinating, and an easy elevator pitch: An Irish-American hoodlum from Southie

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Hung Up on Israel

At the recent Republican presidential debate, many of the candidates mentioned Israel. Jeb Bush, for example, said that we need to reestablish “our commitment to Israel, which has been altered ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Super K, Revisited

‘Surely no statesman in modern times, and certainly no American secretary of state, has been as revered and then as reviled as Henry Kissinger.” So begins Niall Ferguson’s monumental biography, ...
Politics & Policy

Bedeviled

Black Mass, in which a cadaverous Johnny Depp portrays James “Whitey” Bulger, the famous Boston gangster and FBI informant, is the kind of movie that gives competence a bad name. ...
Country Life

Duskfall

Kids come back to college at the end of August, but night comes back into its own at the end of September, so between freshman orientation and the equinox is ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Crime and Over-punishment It is surprising that the editors of National Review would publish Stephanos Bibas’s article, which describes at length the harmful social effects of keeping convicted criminals behind bars ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ The New York City Council honored Ethel Rosenberg. One hundred million people were unavailable for comment. ‐ If Donald Trump stopped insulting people, he would practically be rendered mute, but ...
Athwart

Gruel, Britannia

Story from the Telegraph: “Meat should be treated like tobacco with a public campaign to stop people eating it, Jeremy Corbyn’s new vegan shadow farming minister Kerry McCarthy has suggested.” “Shadow” ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE GARDEN Nothing to do with me, All that it grows: Whatever I might see – A vole, a rose. Who gives, who takes away? Look how it grieves, How what shoots up today Falls among thieves, While in ...
Happy Warrior

Happier Warrior

For most of human existence, the average man could look forward to a relatively short life of chasing game or extracting enough sustenance from the ground that his family could ...

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Rat Patrol

Rat Patrol

Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.