Among my odd interests there is the one that finds organized crime intriguing. How those who are not concerned about laws make a business of breaking them. There are many types of crime organizations but when it comes to Whitey Bulger and his Winter Hill Gang of Boston working with FBI agents was unique. Then his being on the run for so long was also unprecedented. Needless to say I knew the story before we sat down to watch the movie. I was wary with Johnny Depp playing Whitey but… not as much as Benedict Cumberbatch playing the political office holding brother.
Let me say that neither disappointed. Depp knocked it out of the park as Whitey. He became the role and I was convinced. His acting skills aren’t fully utilized by Tim Burton in any of their movies that’s for sure. Hopefully Depp takes more dramatic against his usual genre parts to give us performances like this one.
Benedict did well. I won’t say it’s out of the park. He embraced the Boston accent and the businessman’s carry of William Bulger. His part was a bit harder to play as I think William’s life was harder to live straddling the line between organized crime brother and upstanding President of the Massachusetts Senate. How involved he was in the affairs of the gang seems to be not much but how much he was aware of the gang’s dealing is a different question. He loved his brother and never interfered with his business of crime. The move implies more involvement by William at least in warning his bother about issues. The role was a tough one that wasn’t the focus of the movie, Benedict did well but never seemed to give himself over to his character as Depp did to his. There was an uncomfortableness in the skin of the character the other actors didn’t seem to have but that could just be me misreading what was an uncomfortableness of the character walking in two worlds. Watch for yourself and tell me your take.
Finally John Connelly the FBI agent that claimed he was using Whitey when in the end it appears Whitey used him. I think the Boston FBI unit fell into what many fall into thinking that real organized crime is the Italian Mafia only. They got information from Whitey to attack that but didn’t see that there were other criminal organizations rising to fill the void left by their actions. Did they not see because it was their informant? Or did they not see because it wasn’t Italian? I think the answer was a combination of both in reality. The movie does well to capture the corruption in the FBI that led to the Winter Hill Gang growing as it did.
In the end it was a story well told of Whitey’s days as the leader of the Winter Hill gang. The movie didn’t do well because I think many were like me fearing Depp wouldn’t give the role a good portrayal Boy we missed a good one because of our mind set just as the FBI missed Connelly due to their. Check this out it’s a movie worth your time. The most chilling about it is – it’s based on real events.