Rating (3.5 out of 5)
Subjet Overview: This is a documentary about Richard Wershe Jr. aka White Boy Rick, who was arrested in the 1980’s and has been in jail for over 30 years. There is also a full length movie staring Matthew McConaughey that is called “White Boy Rick” and this documentary is about the same young man.
What I Liked: It was really interesting to hear from the various people about how Richard Wershe Jr has been treated by the criminal justice system. People interviewed and supporting Richard Wershe Jr. were FBI, Detroit police, a judge, a hitman, a 1980’s drug king pin, his mom, news reporters…. All of them thought White Boy Rick was incarcerated too long.
I was in high school during the 80’s and remember the war on drugs, but remember the campaign and not the raids. Detroit seemed to have a whole different drug war going on with multiple gangs and corrupt politicians, that I wasn’t aware of.
The history of Detroit and its politics were fascinating. I was particular struck by Gil Hill who was also an actor in Beverly Hills Cops. His role in this was fascinating.
Here was an informant that was asked by the authorities not to go to school, so he could get information on criminals, which he did. But because he revealed information about the wrong people (people in places of authority), he is the only one to serve the sentence without parole. A confessed hitman and the drug king pin spent less time in jail.
What I Didn’t Like: It did feel a little one sided. He was in jail for 30 years and those that are most responsible aren’t around any longer. It is very hard to interview the dead. Some also turned down interviews.
Also, because the movie was a wee bit on the short side, we skimmed through the information very quickly.
Conclusion: While I like the motion pictures I find the documentaries provide a little more insight to what actually happened. At a very quick 1 hour and 22 minutes, enjoyed learning about this time in Detroit/US history, and how the law can be abused by those we elect. I would recommend this to my wife and my parents, but wouldn’t pay money for it.