The Whistleblower (2010)

Biography, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn
A drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.
Rachel Weisz puts on a compelling smoldering act though the film suffers from a literal-minded approach to the material.
  • IDP/Samuel goldwyn Films Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 23 Jun 2011 Released:
  • 24 Jan 2012 DVD Release:
  • $1.1M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Very important subject matter which is hard to watch, but must be7/10
The vast majority of the time one hears the words 'government contract' it is safe to assume it is not the best and brightest people who are volunteering to go for extended periods of time to locales termed war zones. Sure, there are those altruistic few who take up the charge to make the world a better place, but routinely, it is just someone willing to exchange six months of their life in exchange for a juicy paycheck. The Whistleblower's heroine, Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Wiesz) is one such person. She was a Nebraska police officer who signed on with a company called Democra who had a security contract with the United Nations.

For six months of her time and $100,000, Kathryn was to monitor the local Sarajevo police and advise them on proper police procedures. Very quickly, she discovers the word monitor means turn a blind eye as Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks abuse whatever power they have to continue a sort of undeclared war on each other. The Serb policemen will not investigate or prosecute domestic violence cases, especially if the woman is Muslim. Kathryn successfully leads Bosnia's first case against domestic violence earning her a more visible job as the department head for gender affairs.

Now her scope includes far more than standard local police issues. Young Eastern European and Russian girls are turning up on the streets and shelters looking severely assaulted and sexually abused. To her shock and dismay, Kathryn learns that United Nations employees from all nations are not only the girls' customers, but frequently aid local human traffickers in their transport and have an interest in holding the girls against their will.

Nobody in any position of authority ever raises their hand for a scandal, so all of Kathryn's investigations and findings are swept under the rug and she is ostracized from the rest of her compatriots who are either not interested in obtaining justice for the girls or believe so much in bureaucracy and paperwork that they sometimes send the girls right back to their rapists. On Kathryn's side is the High Commissioner for Human Rights rep played by Vanessa Redgrave and an internal affairs agent played by David Strathairn.

Frequently, the subject matter and scenes of girls undergoing sexual abuse and torture are stomach churning. The film can be relentless at times showing various punishments and cruelty. Human trafficking, especially if it involves a trusted world organization and its sleazy contractors, is an extremely important subject to cover and make films about; therefore, be ready to adjust uncomfortably in your seats as you watch downright disgusting and brutal activities perpetrated against teenage girls.

The Whistleblower deserves applause for bringing to light the company Democra which still carries out government contracts to this day. However, when the film takes a break for showing the girls' plight, it focuses on Kathryn's personal life and back story which are choppy and do not come across as fully thought out. There is her home life back in the states which she left, including her daughter, and an awkward budding romance with a Dutch security contractor. Including romance and relationships in a film with this disturbing subject matter would be tough for any director, and this first time feature director does not quite pull it off.

It will take this reviewer some time to get over some of the images in The Whistleblower; tread at your own risk. But this story deserves to be told and shown in all of its brutality.
Difficult yet important story8/10
The previous reviewer obviously didn't know that this is a true story. The specific victims were fictionalized, but the overall story of what was happening and what Rachel Wiesz's character went through are true. They are not a contrived, or "generic" "CSI" story.

That said, as a movie, Whistleblower delivers in telling about this difficultand important event. Some of the scenes were hard to watch, but, as the director mentioned at the Q&A after the screening I saw, it was just scratching the surface of what was going on. Vanessa Redgrave's character, though her scenes were relatively brief, really shined. I appreciated that the cinematography didn't involve any fancy styles or overly dramatic music. The director let the impact of the story itself, and Rachel Wiesz's fine acting, carry the movie.
Surely a 2nd Oscar for Rachel Weisz10/10
So i sat down this evening at a special screening of The Whistleblower, id seen the trailer and was certainly intrigued as i think Rachel Weisz is an extremely fine actress, and it reminded me of a similar Australian film i saw a few years earlier called 'The Jammed'. I was absolutely floored by this film, so many times i was literally holding back my anger and my urge to yell at the screen.

The story is a story that has been told somewhat before but none have had Rachel Weisz, she is the pure driving force of this movie, picturing someone else in this role is near impossible. The supporting cast are also stellar, I particularly enjoyed David Strathairn's character, one good guy in the midst of all these corrupt male cops, and the actress who played Raya gave a heartbreaking portrayal of a trapped woman.

The fact that sex trafficking is still a major problem in the world is horrifying, i hope this movie eventually gets a full release in Australia as i think its a film a lot of people should see as sex trafficking is a major problem here.

Be prepared to hold back your rage and frustration....

Come Oscar time i hope Weisz gets the recognition she so rightly deserves.

In one word : Flawless
A good movie with an IMPORTANT story to tell.7/10
Sure the production values could have been better, but I am sure this movie did not have the biggest budget either.

I thought Weisz, Redgrave and Strathairn gave good performances. But,most of all, what I liked was the raw feel of this movie, perhaps due to it's smaller budget, and the fact that it had a very important story to tell (a true story).

I can not comprehend people complaining, in their reviews, regarding the languages spoken. Who cares ? Obviously they cared more about aesthetics than the actual story.

Even with all it's flaws, it is a very entertaining, although sad, movie. It actually prompted me to do some research on DynCorp, KBR and Blackwater , 3 of the security contractors getting billions of $ from our governments while committing countless crimes around the world. So, I guess, in that respect, the movie has worked and got it's point across. Good to see a movie that actually gets your passion and emotions flowing, even if it is outrage.
A smart and gripping political thriller.7/10
These days it's become a rarity to find a political thriller that is intelligent, intense and intriguing. So when one like The Whistleblower comes along, I find no trouble in treasuring every moment of it. Rachel Weisz stars as the titular pot-boiler who uncovers a sex trafficking ring while working as a peacekeeper in Bosnia. Based on a true story, she turns over some dirty rocks and a lot of people start to get very angry. This leads to a very tense race to discover the truth and find someone willing to help her bring down these horrible men before they get to her. There's a subplot with Monica Bellucci's character that is a little dull and eventually inconsequential, but when the Weisz side of things is so gripping, it's easy to look past.

The story here is strong and every moment, especially in the final act, breathes with a wicked intensity that keeps you on your toes, but the real driving force of the film is Weisz. For some reason it seems like it's pretty hard for films to present female characters who are strong and firm in their beliefs without turning them into unbearable stereotypes. This year though we've experienced an influx of great ones that come off as genuine human beings and Weisz's Kathryn Bolkavac is another to add to the list. Especially given the fact that she plays a woman who is being constantly attacked and undermined by everyone around her, a role that opens itself up to melodramatic hysterics pretty easily. Weisz had to hit this balance of strength and broken hopelessness without going too far to make it unrealistic, and she hits every note necessary.

There's one scene later in the film that really stands as a measure to the power of her performance. Bolkavac gets within an inch of freeing these girls and exposing the truth, when out of nowhere the rug is pulled out from under her and things look worse than ever. She bursts into tears, desperate for some way out of this situation; everything she was fighting for was right in her grasp and she just gets it ripped out of her hand like two kids fighting over a toy on Christmas. This moment would have been difficult for most actors, but Weisz has matured into one of our finest performers and she doesn't phase for a second. She could have easily slipped into unintentionally comedic melodrama but instead she brings down the house and almost brought a tear to my eye. It's a devastating moment in one of the strongest, most commanding performances of the year so far. A superb performance in a taut, intelligent thriller.