For months, the trailers for Scott Cooper’s latest movie Black Mass has been featured prominently during commercial breaks. They do a pretty excellent job of depicting the internsity of the film and exactly how a sinister gangster like Whitey could have possibly reigned for so long.
His crew, known as The Winter Hill Gang, wreaked havoc all over South Boston with no fear of reprimand from the justice system. However, this isn’t a brilliantly thought up story that was simply written for our entertainment value.
Whitey James Bulger and the protection he received from the FBI was as real as the families he destroyed, the people’s lives he and his men snuffed out, and as real as every single crime he and his crew ever committed spanning over 30 years.
Thanks to the CNN documentary film Whitey: The United States of America V. James J. Bulger, which premiered Sept 18, director Joe Berlinger unveils the raw truth of the alliance that was formed between Whitey and an FBI agent named James Connelly; an alliance that would rewrite the history of the Justice Department as we know it, and cause reason to question our faith in the people we thought were protecting us.
The stellar cast lined up for the film includes Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota
Johnson, and Joel Edgerton, among many notable others. These stars aligned to depict the bizarrely true story of how South Boston’s most infamous criminal son, Whitey James Bulger, came to form the unholiest of unholy alliances with his childhood pal and FBI Agent in good standing James Connelly.
Together, the two men would create what would become the biggest coverup in the history of the FBI.
Thanks to Whitey, audiences will know the full story of how Whitey Bulger and the Winter Hill Gang came to be, and also the lengths the FBI went to in efforts to keep Whitey on the records as an unregistered “informant” for the FBI. Berlinger takes audiences back to South Boston in this sparsely narrated journey, contrasting the passage of time with the passage of Whitey’s trial.
Victims and their family members lend us their firsthand accounts of the suffering and loss they were forced to endure at the hands of these criminals. Various key players in the media as well as Whitey’s defense team detail through their research how the truth of the coverup existing within the department about the treatment of Whitey’s criminal enterprise came to be tolerated.
Both sides are argued by interviews given by current and former members of the Justice Department as well as various local, state, and federal law enforcement representatives, all in an effort to prove and deny that there was corruption on any level when it came to the treatment of Whitey’s criminal reign.
Whitey was finally captured in Santa Monica in 2011. He was brought to Federal Court on July 6th of 2011 where he plead not guilty to 48 charges. Among these charges were several counts of murder, extortion, weapons violations, and narcotics distribution. Whitey’s defense team in the film’s main objective is not to disprove the crimes of Whitey and his crew, but to prove that the FBI allowed them to be committed.
Bulger’s official sentence was passed down on November 14th, 2013. He was sentenced to two lifeterms of imprisonment plus 5 years additional time. As of September, 2014, Bulger resides in Coleman II United States Penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida.
The closest representation popculture has had in recent years to Whitey Bulger is the character of Frank Costello, played by Jack Nicholson in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film, The Departed. The film Black Mass was released in theaters September 18.
Whitey: The United States of America V. James J. Bulger is available for streaming on Netflix.
So before you hit the theaters this weekend to see if Black Mass is going to be one of the best films of 2015, check out Whitey first and find out why.