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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
Top Customer Reviews
Bolkovac is a lone crusader, persuading fearful women to testify against their abusers, bucking diplomatic hypocrisy, and dealing with rampant paranoia. Ms. Weisz heads this topical political thriller, turning in a powerful performance, one of her best. The movie underscores the collateral damage caused by politics and maintaining the delicate balance of world peace, though it's far more compelling as one strong woman's efforts to advocate for those without a voice.
The sole special feature on this release, available in Blu-ray and DVD editions, is a featurette about real-life whistleblower Kathy Bolkovac.
From the first few minutes, it's pretty clear that the story isn't going to have a happy ending and once you see what military contractors and UN officials were conspiring to achieve, it's enough to make you want to write letters to your elected representatives. I haven't read anything to indicate that the situation shown in this film is untrue and it paints an extremely shameful picture of what Westerns organizations were doing while supposedly protecting civilians.
Overall, it's an intelligent and believable political drama with sharp dialog and fast pacing. Be warned that there are a couple of very unpleasant scenes that are necessary to convey the atrocities involved but may be too much for some viewers.
Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is a recently divorced mother of a young girl who has lost custody of her daughter because of her constant commitment to her job. When she is offered a lot of money and an advancement if she will go to Bosnia on a special assignment she accepts, feeling that if she ha money she can return home to live close to her young daughter. When she arrives in Sarajevo she is treated with distance from the colleagues with whom she will be working. Her first accomplishment is bringing to justice the abuse of a Muslim woman who has been constantly a victim of spousal abuse - something not considered a crime until Kathryn proves it in court.Read more ›
'The Whistleblower' did a fine job of focusing attention on the atrocity of sex-trading young women in postwar Bosnia. Even further troubling, for some of us, is the fact that U.N.'Peace Keeping Contractors', another phrase to add to my list of paradoxymorons in this case, were involved. This was an intelligent thriller and Weis was, as usual, extraordinary.
This movie, about the abuse and trivialization of women, provoked an interesting response in me, for sure. But that would be a rant and I will not perpetrate it upon you...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Twenty years ago I would not have believed the revelations presented here about the UN's direct and indirect involvement in human trafficking. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Yiannis P
Boy will be boys, even in the deepest catastrophe of Serbia. I am ashamed and feel the degradation of girls and women was tacitly condoned and support by my tax dollars. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Kathleen Grimes
Enthralling. Offers a truthful, bleak perspective of human trafficking at the time portrayed in the film (late '90s I think) that, unfortunately, still resonates today.Published 1 day ago by po8grl
Really good movie. Pretty sad that this does happen all over the worldPublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
Look you can be aware of what's going on without putting your brain through this type of trauma. If you can watch this being done to women you've got some thick fing skin.Published 3 days ago by scott
During the period following the Serbo-Bosnian war, I had missed reading about the scandal portrayed in this film. Read morePublished 5 days ago by M. Schaefer