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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
Always engaging on an intellectual and moral level.
Interestingly, this focuses more on the crimes (or potential crimes) of law-enforcement, especially the FBI, than on the admitted crimes of terrorizing mob boss 'Whitey' Bulger.
Bulger's trial is highly unusual, in that the defense is making no effort to say their client is innocent, and they know he'll spend his last days in prison (he's 83 at the time of the trial). The issue is really; instead of being an informant as claimed by the FBI and others, did Whitey really have them all on his payroll? Is the government more worried about cleaning their own dirty laundry without blame than in getting Whitey behind bars? And the larger moral question, even IF Bulger was an informant, was that really worth letting him run free, killing 19 people and raining fear on the residents of South Boston?
There's no conclusive smoking gun of a conspiracy, but there sure is a ton of circumstantial evidence, and Berlinger gives a good job of presenting it in a building, cinematic fashion – starting with the simple fact that everyone knew Whitey ran the neighborhood for years and years, yet he was never once charged with anything. And then somehow he knew to run just before the authorities rounded up all the leadership of his gang, surviving as a fugitive for 16 years.
Not as emotionally powerful as Berlinger's great "Brothers Keeper" and very strong "Paradise Lost", but always engaging on an intellectual and moral level.
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