One of the reasons I was sort of lukewarm on Black Mass was that, while it was well acted, shot, and paced, it didn’t tell us much about Whitey Bulger the person, other than the broad strokes we already knew — he was a smaht gangstah who hated rats, but irawnicly, was himself an infahmint.
There’s so much more to the story and the to person that is only now starting to get out. (Frankly, I’m more interested to know about Whitey’s brother, William, who had the same background but managed to be incredibly successful, even becoming a state senator, presumably without crime.) For those thirsty for more Bulger (phrasing!), I’d recommend a recently rebroadcast podcast from KCRW’s UnFictional, “The Couple in 303,” referring to the apartment in Santa Monica where Whitey Bulger and his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, spent 15 years hiding out. It’s got interviews with Bulger and Greig’s unsuspecting neighbors, and you learn a lot more about Bulger than just that he killed people and hated snitches.
Here’s a snip:
After her trial, the FBI released a ton of documents related to Catherine’s prosecution, including a thorough inventory of apartment 303. The guns [30 of them, hidden in a wall], the cash [$800,000 worth], Whitey’s AARP card, lots of ID – driver’s licenses, birth certificates – there’s a thank you note from Josh [the building manager]. An American flag poster, a ceramic crucifix. Some pictures of cats, and a cat calendar. And a coffee table book about cats. And some porcelain cats too. There’s a throw pillow, maybe from one of the yard sales Catherine went to. There’s a saying embroidered on it: “Give a man an inch, and he thinks he’s a ruler.”
It really fills out the picture, doesn’t it? Whitey Bulger: killer, gangster, informant, cat lover, and doting boyfriend to a woman who loves inspirational throw pillows. He contains multitudes.