Main Plot Points:
- From Academy Award-nominated director Joe Berlinger, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is a sweeping and revelatory documentary film that follows the trial of the infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multi-faceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems.
What We Thought:
- I’m from Boston. I’m of an age and ethnicity that, let’s just say, I was well aware of who James “Whitey” Bulger was. For those who aren’t familiar with him, watching Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger will show you why at one point he was number 2 behind Osama Bin Laden on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
- The documentary focuses on the trial against Whitey in 2013. He was on the run for 16 years and finally caught in Santa Monica in 2011. The trial was big news in Boston. I don’t think people outside New England realize just how big Whitey is/was.
- It’s a well made documentary and it interviews a lot of people who were involved in the trial and the investigation. They interview a lot of family members who wanted to testify against Bulger.
- They also interview Bulger’s defense attorneys, the FBI, Steve Weeks, and many more involved. I do wish they had more on Billy Bulger. His name is brought up, but that’s it. Billy is just as famous in Massachusetts as Whitey, but for better reasons. People also think Billy helped Whitey stay on the lamb, but who knows.
- The documentary doesn’t really seem to take a side. There’s two types of people. Those who think Whitey was an FBI informant and being a rat helped him get away with murder (literally). Then there are those who believe what Whitey says and that he wasn’t a rat, that the FBI was under his control and that he had Feds working for him. In this he claims a high ranking Mass. Official came to him for protection when the Italian mob wanted to kill his family and that he offered Whitey immunity if he kept him alive.
- The Blu-ray looks good. There’s some archive footage and photographs that aren’t in HD obviously because it didn’t exist back then. But I won’t hold that slight against it. Audio has easy to hear dialogue.
- Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger is a fascinating watch. If you don’t know much about the story, it might surprise you. Even knowing the story, it’s still pretty fascinating. The FBI says Whitey was a rat. Whitey says the FBI worked for him. Because of that, who knows what really happened. Even Kevin Weeks (one of Whitey’s right hand men) says in the documentary, no one will ever know the true story.
- Deleted Scenes
- Sundance Film Festival Interviews
- Theatrical Trailer
Notable Cast & Crew:
- James “Whitey” Bulger
- Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi
- Other Boston Criminals
Recommended if You Like:
- The Departed
- Black Mass