The Whistleblower

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
August 5, 2011 4:07 AM
3 Comments
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We all know about good intentions and where they can lead. No one could question the serious intent of The Whistleblower or the scandalous behavior it reveals on the part of so-called United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia during the late 1990s. Nor would anyone dispute the heinousness of human trafficking and exploitation of underage girls. But one can quarrel with the effectiveness of this movie.We all know about good intentions and where they can lead. No one could question the serious intent of The Whistleblower or the scandalous behavior it reveals on the part of so-called United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia during the late 1990s. Nor would anyone dispute the heinousness of human trafficking and exploitation of underage girls. But one can quarrel with—

—the effectiveness of this movie.

Rachel Weisz plays a real-life Nebraska policewoman named Kathryn Bolkovac, and does her best to give the character some dimension. But once her backstory is established, it virtually disappears; we understand why she takes the job overseas, but after she gets involved in matters there, her life back home becomesan afterthought.

It’s clear early on that she doesn’t stand a chance when she tries to buck the old-boy network that’s running things in Bosnia, with corruption permeating the local police force as well as the independent firm, here called Democra, that’s been hired by the U.N. And it’s no secret what happens to whistleblowers.

Subsidiary female characters, played by actresses of genuine stature, are sketchily drawn. Vanessa Redgrave is a diplomat who becomes Weisz’s ally in fighting the good fight, and Monica Bellucci is a seemingly cold embassy official who is bound by protocol. David Strathairn shows up as a rare good-guy who’s willing to help Weisz, but he can’t do much playing a one-dimensional figure.

The Whistleblower is capably made, by director and co-screenwriter Larysa Kondracki, on authentic-looking locations, and is (unfortunately) all too believable. As a cautionary exposé it certainly has merit, but as drama it sadly falls short.





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3 Comments

  • Ryan | September 25, 2011 10:03 AMReply

    I have been trying to see the Whistleblower, with Weisz, but cannot find it playing anywhere. Considering its exceptional reviews, isn't this rather strange? Does anyne have an answer to this? Thanks.

  • Patrick M. Gouin | September 5, 2011 1:11 AMReply

    It’s the law of the jungle in anarchy. A fertile ground for profiteers. Victims suffer. A good film, portraying a hard hitting subject and true unfortunately. When the UN is seen as a beacon of hope but in fact becomes a beeker of poison. The integrity of a single person has no chance. Cannot change anything finally. This said, the dramatic impact is not sufficiently felt, mainly because of the film’s almost documentary coldness. 7/10

  • theoncominghope | August 16, 2011 1:04 AMReply

    This film ranks pretty low on the "human rights porn" genre, which I talk about here:
    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/08/oscarbait-2011-whistleblower-aka.html

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