Director: Larysa Kondracki
TRASH CINEMA RECOMMENDED MOVIE
Ostensibly, The Whistleblower is a true story about human trafficking that takes place in Bosnia. And it is. But it also a cautionary tale about the logical end point of a culture that celebrates the cult of the individual, in which a person assumes no responsibility beyond themselves. That is the world of the 1%, currently targeted by the Occupy movement. The unfortunate thing is that immorality, unlike wealth, does have a way of trickling down.
That’s what Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) finds out the hard way. She takes a job with a private security company (think Blackwater) over in Bosnia because it pays big bucks, which she needs to relocate near her daughter, whom she lost custody of in an ugly divorce.
What Kathryn gradually finds out is that the U.N. peacekeeping forces are trafficking girls from neighboring Eastern European countries. And who are the customers? The same folks, more or less. When she tries to blow the whistle, she finds out that complicity in the scheme goes to the very top of the command chain. It’s an open question whether or not Kathryn will be able to escape with her life.
Now, I’ll bet a shiny nickel that if the private security firm wasn’t in Bosnia in the first place, it’s unlikely that the human trafficking scheme would have ever materialized. What happens when you privatize government functions, which internalize profits and externalize risk, is that these private entities do the job they were paid to do as little as possible and offload the resulting suffering on the people they’re paid to help. We’ve seen it with the prison industry, we’ve seen it with Blackwater in Iraq, and now we see it here.
It’s a tawdry story without a happy ending, but it’s an important one that needs to be told.
But enough about the political implications of The Whistleblower — is it entertaining? Well, yes.
The movie is tautly written and directed by Larysa Kondracki. The dialog is intelligent, almost to a fault. There are a couple of unfortunate screenwriting cliches thrown in, maybe to appeal to the dumdums in the audience. That was pointless, as a dumdum would never knowingly seek out such harsh subject matter, but never mind.
The movie is beautifully acted, with a terrific lead performance by Rachel Weisz. But numerous character actors distinguish themselves, especially Vanessa Redgrave, William Hope, Liam Cunningham, Sergej Trifunovic, and Florin Busuioc.
Lastly, because this is a real life tale involving a likeable heroine, and taking place in the most corrupt and dangerous surroundings imaginable, a great deal of suspense is generated.
The true life nature of the tale proves to be a double-edged sword. The ending is bitter as can be and renders the victory shoehorned into the narrative unavoidably Pyrrhic.
Still, while you’re watching it, The Whistleblower is an engaging if harrowing entertainment, and it’s certainly educational. That’s enough for me.