As previously reported on Inquisitr, notorious gangster and murderer Whitey Bulger was less than impressed with the release of Black Mass. In addition to this, one of his henchmen, Kevin Weeks, has a similarly low opinion of the film. Weeks started his career as a bouncer in one of Whitey’s clubs in 1976. Two years later he had been promoted to the trusted position of driver. By 1982, Weeks was a full-time enforcer for the Winter Hill Gang, the notorious South Boston syndicate headed by Whitey Bulger. The gang, partly through catalytic violence, and partly through Bulger’s practice of providing intelligence to the FBI, was to become one of the most fearsome criminal enterprises in all of Massachusetts.
Kevin Weeks was arrested in 1999 and received a five year prison sentence for charges under the RICO act, a sentence that was mitigated by his co-operation as a witness against Bulger.
According to CBS, the bulk of critical opinion on Black Mass has been positive, especially with regard to the “realistic” portrayal of Whitey Bulger, his gang and their criminal activities.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, however, Weeks took the film apart, citing major discrepancies between the real events and their screen portrayal. Weeks took exception to the Johnny Depp’s fiery portrayal of Bulger, saying that Whitey never swore at him, and that they never yelled at each other. Weeks also had a problem with the portrayal of fellow Bulger henchman Stephen Flemmi, who, according to Weeks, comes off as ‘sympathetic’ in the film.
“Stevie was a psycopath. He enjoyed murder.”
One of Weeks’ biggest problems with the film was with the portrayal of Bulger himself.
“Very disappointing. The only resemblance to Whitey’s character was the hairline”
He said that Bulger’s portrayal as a doting father was inaccurate, claiming that Whitey’s son, Lindsey, lived at some distance from his father and that Bulger had frequently advised him that children were a “liability.”
But by far one of his most strident objections was to the portrayal of his own character by Jesse Plemons, from Friday Night Lights.
“My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron. I look like I have Down syndrome.”
He goes on to complain that he and his gang “came off like paupers”, insisting that in reality they spent their evenings socializing with Bulger in $2,000 Louis suits.
For the rest, Weeks has a long list of quibbles about details surrounding the multiple murders in the films, locations, times, dates and a raft of other details. Perhaps this is not surprising, as Whitey Bulger refused to have anything to do with Black Mass, despite being approached by Johnny Depp. It’s well known, though, that Bulger had always looked unfavourably on the book Black Mass, on which the film is based.
Perhaps he preferred Weeks’ book, written a few short years after he ratted Whitey out. In any case, most critics have rated Black Mass as a gritty and entertaining look at Whitey Bulger’s reign of terror. You can check out the trailer here and and decide for yourself.