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Michael David Dunn
WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger captures the sensational trial of infamous gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger, using the legal proceedings as a springboard to explore allegations of corruption within the highest levels of law enforcement. Embedded for months with Federal Prosecutors, retired FBI and State Police, victims, lawyers, gangsters and journalists, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger examines Bulger's relationship with the FBI and Department of Justice that allowed him to reign over a criminal empire in Boston for decades. Pulling back the curtain on long-held Bulger mythology, the film challenges conventional wisdom by detailing shocking, new allegations. With unprecedented access, Berlinger's latest crime documentary offers a universal tale of human frailty, opportunism, deception, and the often elusive nature of truth and justice.Written by
UNDISPUTED FACT #1: After 16 years at large and 12 years on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list, "Whitey" James J. Bulger was arrested in Santa Monica, California, on June 22, 2011.
UNDISPUTED FACT #2: Bulger is a murderer and drug-dealer.
ALLEGATION #1: Bulger was actually not an informant, but that people are out there trying to sully his reputation as being a "classy bad guy".
ALLEGATION #2: There is corruption involving this investigation and trial within the highest levels of law enforcement.
This film chooses to focus on the allegations, not the facts. "Journalistically jumbled", to quote the spot-on statement from John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter. Wouldn't it be far more interesting and useful to examine how this proved killer/drug-dealer avoided capture for such an astonishing length of time? Book-ended by Stephen Rakes' interview, which seems tragically fitting; but otherwise, this documentary just seems like overlong tabloid blah. WHITEY is merely a documentary targeted at DEPARTED fanboys.
** (out of four)
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