Academy Award® Winners Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave* head a powerful cast that includes Oscar® Nominee David Strathairn** in writer-director Larysa Kondracki’s harrowing dramatic thriller. When Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz) accepts a U.N. peacekeeper position in post-war Bosnia, she discovers a deadly sex trafficking ring. Risking her own life to save the lives of others, she uncovers an international conspiracy that is determined to stop her, no matter the cost. With masterful acting and a heart-racing plot, The Whistleblower is an acclaimed film inspired by actual events.
Rachel Weisz delivers a terrifically tough performance in this (unfortunately) fact-based drama about one woman's crusade against human trafficking in postwar Bosnia. Director-cowriter Larysa Kondracki's film follows Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz), a small-town cop who enlists with the United Nations Peacekeepers in an attempt to regain custody of her daughter. After forming a rapport with her neglected female charges, she stumbles into a widespread web of torture, prostitution, and murder, an underground network made all the more dangerous by its shadowy ties to her own coworkers and superiors. Making her feature-film debut, Kondracki displays a firm sense of pacing, an appropriate air of gravity, and a knack for assembling an ace supporting cast, including Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, and especially David Strathairn, who underplays beautifully as a lawyer of uncertain motive. Unfortunately, the film's depiction of the atrocities visited on the young women, while arguably necessary to convey the horror of the situation, does at times threaten to cross over into the queasily exploitative. (For once, the Hollywood dictum of "show, don't tell" may be a mistake.) Viewers with stronger stomachs, however, will be rewarded by a superb performance by Weisz, who depicts her character's change from horrified idealist to hardened realist with aplomb, creating a strong female protagonist without ever seeming superhuman. In a part that would be easy to triumphantly overplay, Weisz lets her eyes convey the toll of her character's considerable accomplishments. No matter the scope of her victories, what she's seen won't ever go away. --Andrew Wright