by Grace Park
What has Hollywood turned to when their writers’ creative thought processes are stalled? They look to real criminals who committed real crimes in real life. More than a handful of films have been developed in reference to actual outlaws and without surprise, these films produce a lot of revenue.
One movie in particular that stands as No. 5 on Netflix’s Top 100 is “The Departed”. The film, based on another Hong Kong film “Infernal Affairs”, is also loosely based on real-life mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. What is uniquely unusual about Bulger is that he was arrested in 2011 years after the film was released in 2006.
Another interesting fact about Bulger is that he was placed as No. 1 on FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. For what, you may ask? Bulger was an Irish mobster in Boston as an FBI Informant using his informant status to wipe out rival gang members. Furthermore, FBI agent John Connolly allegedly informed Bulger that he was about to be arrested causing Bulger to flee for the next 15 years. The public’s discovery that Bulger was an FBI informant led to the popular belief of the FBI’s reluctance to proceed in the investigation of Bulger’s disappearing act.
Click here for more information on Bulger.
Despite subtle differences in the movie The Departed and Bulger’s actual life – like the untimely death in the movie and Bulger’s extended evasion in real life – the movie fanned controversy among the victim’s families terrorized by Bulger’s reign in Boston. Much of the families refused to watch the movie because it appeared that Bulger was glorified in the film. How was this achieved? In real life, Bulger wasn’t characterized as a model informant. Instead, the information relayed to the FBI were facts that were already known.
You can find a full story surrounding Bulger’s arrest here .