Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Whitey: An epic episode of corruption and manipulation

Scene from the documentary film WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger Mugshot of James "Whitey" Bulger.

Alcatraz Federal Penetentiary

3 out of 4 stars

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
Directed by
Joe Berlinger

For more than 20 years, starting in the early seventies, Jimmy (Whitey) Bulger brutally ruled much of the organized crime – extortion, rackets, drugs, loan-sharking, murder – in South Boston and did so with seemingly little to no interference from legal authorities. Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory) explores, in dense, thorough detail, this peculiar state of affairs, using Bulger's two-month trial last year as his hook. While some Canadian viewers may find the doc's unrelenting American focus and elusiveness off-putting, most, I suspect, will find themselves sucked into its stifling miasma of corruption, complicity and manipulation. With a large cast of wise guys, reporters, ex-cops, victims and lawyers, lawyers, lawyers, it's like five seasons of The Wire distilled into one epic episode.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

James More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨