An American policewoman (Rachel Weisz), who is working in post-war Bosnia as a UN peacekeeper, tries to fight with organised illegal immigration and sex trade rampant there. Read the review of The Whistleblower for more.
Business rating: 1/5 star
Star cast: Rachel Weisz, Roxana Condurache, David Strathairn, Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci.
What’s Good: The performances; the direction.
What’s Bad: The slow pace of the narrative; the unimpactful drama; the hurried climax.
Verdict: The Whistleblower is a realistic account of a true incident, something that will not be appreciated much by the Indian audience.
Loo break: Several in the latter half.
Watch or Not?: Watch The Whistleblower if you are a fan of realistic cinema.
Whistleblower (Gen One) and Barry Films’ The Whistleblower is the story of an American lady and UN peacekeeper who deals with the problem of illegal trafficking of young girls in post-war Bosnia.
Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz), a police officer in America, is faced with the reality that she won’t be able to see her two girls, who stay with her divorced husband, as her transfer to another town where the ex-husband is shifting, is not being approved. In order to be financially stable, and then move closer to her girls, she takes up a well-paying but dangerous job in post-war Bosnia.
In Bosnia, she discovers that the UN peacekeepers, who are just observers/protectors, are themselves aiding and abetting various illegalities, including illegal immigration of young girls from neighbouring countries. However, she persists in doing things the right way, the way she would act as a policewoman back in America. When Kathryn excels in the investigation of a wife-battering case, which leads to a landmark judgment in the local court, her superior (Vanessa Redgrave) appoints her as the head of the Women rights protection cell there.
Soon, Kathryn stars locking horns with local police officers and also her UN peacekeeper colleagues, leading up to an eventual conflagration. Officers Peter Ward (David Strathairn) and Laura Levin (Monica Bellucci) help Kathryn even as she tries hard to save Raya (Roxana Condurache), a sexually abused girl who had been sold into the flesh trade by her own uncle. As Kathryn discovers the evils that are being propagated on Raya, her attempts to protect Raya from the nexus of police, peacekeepers and a private corporation are revealed in the rest of the film. Is Kathryn successful in her attempts to save Raya? What about her family back home?
The Whistleblower Review: Script Analysis
Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan’s story, inspired from true incidents, has ample scope for drama and heroism. However, the screenplay, by Kondracki and Kirwan, which keeps things as realistic as possible, underplays the drama and heroism (of Kathryn) and instead brings out the pathos and helplessness in the given circumstances. In doing so, the writers give a believable but depressing account of the proceedings. The climax is hurried and does not give the audience a feeling of conclusion. The writers also spend too much time in depicting the sorry state of affairs in Bosnia, owing to the mismanagement by the UN peacekeepers (which, in this case, are hired by a private contractor). Instead, if they had created a few situations where Kathryn could have come face-to-face with the perpetrators of these crimes and taught them a lesson or two, the audience might have been better entertained.
Having said that, it must also be added that the story does hold appeal for a section of the English-speaking city audience, who appreciate realistic cinema. However, even they will find the drama less than engaging at times.
The Whistleblower Review: Performances & Direction
Rachel Weisz lives the role of the rough and moralistic police officer. She does very well in the emotional scenes too. Roxana Condurache acts wonderfully in a very difficult role. David Strathairn stands out in his portrayal of the internal affairs officer. Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and others offer good support.
Debutante director Larysa Kondracki does well in narrating her story in a realistic manner but she loses in making the drama more engrossing and impactful. She is able to draw out very good performances from her cast but to little avail as the film remains, after all, an average fare. Mychael Danna’s background score is appropriate. Kieran McGuigan’s cinematography is good. The production design is spot on. Editing, by Julian Clarke, could have been better.
The Whistleblower Review: The Last Word
On the whole, The Whistleblower is a film for lovers of realistic cinema only, and it will fail to do much at the Indian box-office.