Damien Straker on
September 21st, 2011
a film directed by
Kondracki and Eilis Kirwant
Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn, Benedict Cumberbatch
and Monica Bellucci.
Released: September 29th,
a Nebraska cop named Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is looking to get
transfer so that she can move closer to her daughter. Her former
has custody of their child. When Kathryn fails to get her transfer, she
to a new line of work that will generate a lot more money. She is
employed on contract
with the UN as a police officer in Bosnia. When she arrives there she
that there is not only a language barrier between the various
also a lot of red tape to work through. A number of assault cases against
unreported and she works to resolve these. When her efforts are noted
ranking officials like Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) and Peter Ward
Strathairn), she is promoted to the head of the department. Most
Kathryn is when she discovers the involvement her own police colleagues
the sex-trade and human trafficking. Numerous photos of them with girls
placed around a dilapidated den and the conspiracy runs even deeper.
the point of no return by deciding to turn them in.
real events, The Whistleblower rests
heavily on the back of an impressive performance by Rachel Weisz. Her
is continuously sympathetic and understandable. Her motive and her
drive to try
and protect these girls, in part because of her relationship with her
daughter, is one of the strongest and clearest points made by the
Weisz is particularly credible here with an emotive and naturalistic
performance. It is a shame that her strong efforts and such potentially
material are contained in a highly formulaic narrative trajectory.
understandable amount of outrage to this true story, given that the men
involved were dismissed but never properly charged because of their
And at the end, the film faintly reminds us of its contemporary
relevance by stating
that the US still employs contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan today.
time director Larysa Kondracki and her cowriter Eilis Kirwan have opted
a very familiar mould to tell this story. Though the film is genuinely
compelling at times, its few risks make it a standard and unremarkable
thriller. This is yet another story about an outsider who is willing to
her colleagues in at any cost, despite the increasing levels of
placed on them. We saw a very similar thread late last year with the
thriller Fair Game for example.
this is an adult thriller that refrains from including car chases and
shootouts. That is a slightly refreshing quality. The film also is also
by the level of realism attributed to its location and atmosphere. It’s
cold and muddy setting, extremely isolating at times, projecting the
of the film’s heroine. While the atmosphere is strong, it also comes at
expense of consistent direction by Kondracki. Some questionable
using a handheld shaky camera and tight framing, makes some scenes
watch. When the film finds some energy, it’s a lot more exciting.
very tense standoff in a bar towards the end of the film that really
Weisz’s credentials as an actress. And one of the film’s climaxes does
provide a clean resolution, which gives the film some emotional punch.
the script fails to really utilise the talents of its supporting cast.
and Strathairn, though they’re fine, only have very small parts to work
and their characters aren’t as rounded as Weisz’s. And Benedict
playing an American, disappears from the story when you feel that he
more prominent. Overall, despite the benefits of Weis’ powerhouse
and the uncompromised subject matter, this remains a well-intentioned
formulaic thriller that sticks a little too closely to the script.