Tonight I saw the documentary Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger.
Created by the same team that made the award-winning Paradise Lost series, this film has a similar storytelling style, rich with candid conversations, court transcripts and aerial shots of the star city (in this case, Boston).
The work examines volumes of official documents pertaining to the case against legendary Irish mobster Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger, interviewing attorneys from both sides as well as witnesses, journalists and family members of Bulger's victims.
At the heart of the argument is whether or not Whitey was ever really an informant for the FBI.
it's been believed for years he was a "rat," there is compelling
evidence to suggest FBI agent (and Bulger childhood friend) John
Connelly was so smitten with the mobster that he falsified records to
look as if he was, but he wasn't.
Truly, the corruption
goes deeper and deeper—all the way to a safe at the Boston FBI
headquarters that has since been removed (so we think, based on the
82-year-old secretary's testimony). It used to hold documents that were
strictly protected with every regime change, but no longer exists. Those
documents also illuminated the fact that Bulger was never really an
informant, but was protected by the FBI at the highest levels.
Some of the most compelling moments of the film are the phone calls we get to hear between Bulger's defense attorney and Bulger himself. Whitey's voice is as sharp, clear and confident as one may expect. In some sequences, it's hard not to believe the words coming out of his mouth, as they're stated with such conviction.
Whatever your beliefs on the matter, the arguments here are guaranteed to spark questions, and the sadness of the people he harmed will pull at your heartstrings.
One can only hope that with him finally behind bars, justice has been served.