Movie: The Whistleblower

Director: Larysa Kondracki

Cast: Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn, Roxana Condurache

Jagran Rating:  (Average)

Story line: 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?

Thumbs up:  Rachel Weisz has delivered a powerhouse performance. Not only is she the best thing about Kondracki's debut feature, but Weisz is also pretty much the only reason ‘The Whistleblower’ doesn't turn into a morbid documentary-feature.

However, the film is emotionally distant, possessing a stubborn reluctance to delve into the emotions and motivations of all its characters. Weisz's Kathryn, who takes it upon herself to be the eponymous whistleblower, adds a much-needed touch of humanism to this film.

There is also a powerful ensemble cast of veteran actresses lending wonderful support here, from Vanessa Redgrave's dignified portrayal of Madeleine Rees, a hapless UN official, to Roxana Condurache's heartbreakingly good performance as Raya, a Ukranian teenage girl who becomes Kathryn's reason to stay in Bosnia.

Thumbs down: Unfortunately, the script, written by Eilis Kirwan and Kondracki herself, doesn't try and explain the motivations of the perpetrators of the crime (which apparently involves everyone from UN peacekeeping forces to high-ranking diplomats).

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.

This is not a film that entertains and allows you to slip back into your comfortable reclining multiplex chair while you dig into a large tub of popcorn.

‘The Whistleblower’ is well paced, but frequently difficult to watch because of the graphic violence that is depicted. It packs a visceral wallop, but ultimately, one is left wishing Kondracki could've gone the distance and bundled an emotional wallop along with that as well.

On the whole, ‘The Whistleblower’ is a film for lovers of realistic cinema only.

(*Bad,**Disappointing,***Average ,****Good,*****Excellent)

Courtesy: (Agencies/Mid-day)