While Johnny Depp has earned rave reviews for his big screen turn as mobster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger, one insider is not pleased with the actor’s dramatic comeback.
Hank Brennan, attorney for the real-life Bulger, had harsh words for both Depp’s performance and the government agency in a recent interview.
“Hollywood greed is behind the rush to portray my client, and the movie missed the real scourge created in my client’s case, the real menace to Boston during that time and in other mob cases around the country — the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program,” he said.
Bulger was the head of a Boston organized crime outfit in the ’90s who was eventually convicted of 19 murders — among other crimes that went largely unprobed thanks to his status as informant. Bulger allegedly traded intel on Boston’s Italian mob for protection in his own doings, though he denies this.
“There are shades of 1970s Jack Nicholson and Robert DeNiro in the performance, but ultimately, this is Depp bringing his skills to the table as a man with a propensity for being both terrifying and charming, often switching between the two on a dime,” TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde wrote in his review from the Venice Film Festival.
“There’s a kind heart in there,” Depp said of Bulger this week at a Massachusetts screening of the film. “There’s a cold heart in there. There’s a man who loves. There’s a man who cries. There’s a lot to the man.”