Posted by kluster on September 30, 2011
In October 2000 Bosnian-based peacekeeper, Kathryn Bolkovac risked her job, reputation and life to expose UN and international peacekeepers involvement in the country’s post-war human trafficking and sex trade.
The debut feature by Canadian born director, Larysa Kondracki, is based on the true story of American police officer, Kathryn Bolkovac’s (Rachel Weisz) time spent working as a part of the post-war peace effort in Bosnia. It certainly packs an emotional punch.
The Nebraskan police officer secures a high-paying job in Bosnia, working as a peacekeeper for a private firm, contracted by the USA State Department to work closely with the UN to restore order to war-ravaged Bosnia during the late ‘90s. After helping to facilitate a historic conviction and a promotion to head of the UN’s Gender Office, Bolkovac begins to gradually uncover a violent human trafficking and sex-trade industry populated by underage women – some as young as 12 - and frequented by peacekeepers, UN workers and international police.
Kondracki tackles this mammoth story with the sophistication of a seasoned director and deserves plenty of kudos for her efforts as writer/director. It’s a pretty impressive first-time offering.
The Whistleblower is an unashamed thriller but one with a foundation in so much horrific humanity (or lack thereof) that even the most adamant objector to the genre can’t help but become engaged. Unfortunately, at various points in the film the drama errs on the side of over-blown - a fact that serves to stir the realisation that you are part of an active viewing process, disconnecting you somewhat from the story unfolding before you – but for the most part the performances of Weisz and co-stars, Venessa Redgrave and David Strathairn are strong and do this incomprehensible series of events justice.
It’s rare that a movie makes me feel so passionate about a subject matter – and so ignorant – that I come and spend hours online researching it further. The Whistleblower is one such film. Be prepared to have your faith in the institution challenged.