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Very important subject matter which is hard to watch, but must be
chaz-2817 August 2011
The vast majority of the time one hears the words 'government contract' it is safe to assume it is not the best and brightest people who are volunteering to go for extended periods of time to locales termed war zones. Sure, there are those altruistic few who take up the charge to make the world a better place, but routinely, it is just someone willing to exchange six months of their life in exchange for a juicy paycheck. The Whistleblower's heroine, Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Wiesz) is one such person. She was a Nebraska police officer who signed on with a company called Democra who had a security contract with the United Nations.

For six months of her time and $100,000, Kathryn was to monitor the local Sarajevo police and advise them on proper police procedures. Very quickly, she discovers the word monitor means turn a blind eye as Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks abuse whatever power they have to continue a sort of undeclared war on each other. The Serb policemen will not investigate or prosecute domestic violence cases, especially if the woman is Muslim. Kathryn successfully leads Bosnia's first case against domestic violence earning her a more visible job as the department head for gender affairs.

Now her scope includes far more than standard local police issues. Young Eastern European and Russian girls are turning up on the streets and shelters looking severely assaulted and sexually abused. To her shock and dismay, Kathryn learns that United Nations employees from all nations are not only the girls' customers, but frequently aid local human traffickers in their transport and have an interest in holding the girls against their will.

Nobody in any position of authority ever raises their hand for a scandal, so all of Kathryn's investigations and findings are swept under the rug and she is ostracized from the rest of her compatriots who are either not interested in obtaining justice for the girls or believe so much in bureaucracy and paperwork that they sometimes send the girls right back to their rapists. On Kathryn's side is the High Commissioner for Human Rights rep played by Vanessa Redgrave and an internal affairs agent played by David Strathairn.

Frequently, the subject matter and scenes of girls undergoing sexual abuse and torture are stomach churning. The film can be relentless at times showing various punishments and cruelty. Human trafficking, especially if it involves a trusted world organization and its sleazy contractors, is an extremely important subject to cover and make films about; therefore, be ready to adjust uncomfortably in your seats as you watch downright disgusting and brutal activities perpetrated against teenage girls.

The Whistleblower deserves applause for bringing to light the company Democra which still carries out government contracts to this day. However, when the film takes a break for showing the girls' plight, it focuses on Kathryn's personal life and back story which are choppy and do not come across as fully thought out. There is her home life back in the states which she left, including her daughter, and an awkward budding romance with a Dutch security contractor. Including romance and relationships in a film with this disturbing subject matter would be tough for any director, and this first time feature director does not quite pull it off.

It will take this reviewer some time to get over some of the images in The Whistleblower; tread at your own risk. But this story deserves to be told and shown in all of its brutality.
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the truth hurts
franmol0128 August 2011
what is it that makes us human? the thing that separates us from the animals? the whistleblower doesn't answer these questions. in fact it asks the question even more. this movie was hard to watch but also hard not to. Weisz is outstanding as the woman that exposes the men with control and power over their weaker fellow man...or woman in this case. you must watch this movie for the human story. expecting to be "entertained" by drama and the like should not be your goal here, the director has done an excellent job ensuring that. if you want to be entertained then watch transformers... if you're not afraid to be moved by the real events on which this story is based, then this movie is for you.
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A good movie with an IMPORTANT story to tell.
jpurits-604-55921726 August 2011
Sure the production values could have been better, but I am sure this movie did not have the biggest budget either.

I thought Weisz, Redgrave and Strathairn gave good performances. But,most of all, what I liked was the raw feel of this movie, perhaps due to it's smaller budget, and the fact that it had a very important story to tell (a true story).

I can not comprehend people complaining, in their reviews, regarding the languages spoken. Who cares ? Obviously they cared more about aesthetics than the actual story.

Even with all it's flaws, it is a very entertaining, although sad, movie. It actually prompted me to do some research on DynCorp, KBR and Blackwater , 3 of the security contractors getting billions of $ from our governments while committing countless crimes around the world. So, I guess, in that respect, the movie has worked and got it's point across. Good to see a movie that actually gets your passion and emotions flowing, even if it is outrage.
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An excellent but depressing film
Argemaluco1 September 2011
The Whistleblower is an excellent film, but it left me depressed. However, its message is undoubtedly important and I think that it definitely deserves an enthusiastic recommendation, not exactly as an entertainment, but as a testimony of a horrible situation which is unfortunately extended all around the world, even though the story from the film is set in Serbia and Bosnia. Which one of so many possible atrocities does The Whistleblower deal with? The human trafficking; and even though it does not offer solutions (probably because they don't exist), it at least brings us new reasons to feel ashamed of the human genre.

Having established the importance of the message expressed by The Whistleblower, I will proceed to focus myself into its many cinematographic attributes. The screenplay is fascinating, and it kept me in suspense the whole time, because even though it does not have the structure from a traditional thriller, the crusade undertaken by the main character demands a strong emotional response; and as well as we share her hope of a positive solution, we also feel her frustration when she faces the constant obstacles she finds from the mafia, the bureaucracy and even the enslaved young women, who are too scared in order to testify against their captors. The only thing I can say against this film is that the screenplay should have explored a bit more some of the subjects it deals with.

Rachel Weisz brings a great performance in the leading role from The Whistleblower, due to the wide range of emotions she perfectly expresses with her character. Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, David Strathairn, Roxana Condurache, Paula Schramm and Nicolaj Lie Kass also bring perfect works. So, in conclusion, The Whistleblower is a hard but brilliant movie whose finality is not amusing us for a while, but illustrating us about a sad reality which is lived by millions of people every day. I guess that it is difficult to think about that when we have our own problems (which are undoubtedly minor, even though they affect us daily), but that apathy is exactly what companies like DynCorp need in order to enrich themselves at the expense of the human misery. Even though I think that exactly the same can be said about any government.
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Difficult yet important story
heszyfilm29 May 2011
The previous reviewer obviously didn't know that this is a true story. The specific victims were fictionalized, but the overall story of what was happening and what Rachel Wiesz's character went through are true. They are not a contrived, or "generic" "CSI" story.

That said, as a movie, Whistleblower delivers in telling about this difficultand important event. Some of the scenes were hard to watch, but, as the director mentioned at the Q&A after the screening I saw, it was just scratching the surface of what was going on. Vanessa Redgrave's character, though her scenes were relatively brief, really shined. I appreciated that the cinematography didn't involve any fancy styles or overly dramatic music. The director let the impact of the story itself, and Rachel Wiesz's fine acting, carry the movie.
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A story that so desperately NEEDS TELLING!
susanna_uk23 October 2011
If you only watch one movie this month - this should be the one. Its not perfect in terms of putting a movie together but the glitches are very few. More important is the message and if you are not shocked and deeply troubled about our society after watching it I would be surprised! Human trafficking is something most of us all to readily assume is some minor issue that doesn't happen to those around us or is perpetrated by the supposedly small percentage of 'bad guys' around us. But men typically have a very different mindset about rape to how women view and feel about it - and I personally felt this depiction of the realities of the world we actually live in both horrifying and sadly sickening thanks to a virtually global scale of indifference and lip service! The lack of action on the part of the American bureaucratic system after what was happening was exposed (along with the European governments et al as well) to clean up the contractors and the representatives sent to these destabilised regions, all to well underlines the real attitude to dealing with this epidemic of trafficking, systematic rape and torture. Trafficking is certainly alive and well thanks to that attitude and indifference to deal with this issue (largely by men). The fact that she was unable to obtain work anywhere after this expose all to readily underlines the lack of interest in the private contractors to cleaning up their own operations... Deeply Sickening and Saddening!
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Surely a 2nd Oscar for Rachel Weisz
Jimmy Collins13 August 2011
So i sat down this evening at a special screening of The Whistleblower, id seen the trailer and was certainly intrigued as i think Rachel Weisz is an extremely fine actress, and it reminded me of a similar Australian film i saw a few years earlier called 'The Jammed'. I was absolutely floored by this film, so many times i was literally holding back my anger and my urge to yell at the screen.

The story is a story that has been told somewhat before but none have had Rachel Weisz, she is the pure driving force of this movie, picturing someone else in this role is near impossible. The supporting cast are also stellar, I particularly enjoyed David Strathairn's character, one good guy in the midst of all these corrupt male cops, and the actress who played Raya gave a heartbreaking portrayal of a trapped woman.

The fact that sex trafficking is still a major problem in the world is horrifying, i hope this movie eventually gets a full release in Australia as i think its a film a lot of people should see as sex trafficking is a major problem here.

Be prepared to hold back your rage and frustration....

Come Oscar time i hope Weisz gets the recognition she so rightly deserves.

In one word : Flawless
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A smart and gripping political thriller.
Rockwell_Cronenberg9 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
These days it's become a rarity to find a political thriller that is intelligent, intense and intriguing. So when one like The Whistleblower comes along, I find no trouble in treasuring every moment of it. Rachel Weisz stars as the titular pot-boiler who uncovers a sex trafficking ring while working as a peacekeeper in Bosnia. Based on a true story, she turns over some dirty rocks and a lot of people start to get very angry. This leads to a very tense race to discover the truth and find someone willing to help her bring down these horrible men before they get to her. There's a subplot with Monica Bellucci's character that is a little dull and eventually inconsequential, but when the Weisz side of things is so gripping, it's easy to look past.

The story here is strong and every moment, especially in the final act, breathes with a wicked intensity that keeps you on your toes, but the real driving force of the film is Weisz. For some reason it seems like it's pretty hard for films to present female characters who are strong and firm in their beliefs without turning them into unbearable stereotypes. This year though we've experienced an influx of great ones that come off as genuine human beings and Weisz's Kathryn Bolkavac is another to add to the list. Especially given the fact that she plays a woman who is being constantly attacked and undermined by everyone around her, a role that opens itself up to melodramatic hysterics pretty easily. Weisz had to hit this balance of strength and broken hopelessness without going too far to make it unrealistic, and she hits every note necessary.

There's one scene later in the film that really stands as a measure to the power of her performance. Bolkavac gets within an inch of freeing these girls and exposing the truth, when out of nowhere the rug is pulled out from under her and things look worse than ever. She bursts into tears, desperate for some way out of this situation; everything she was fighting for was right in her grasp and she just gets it ripped out of her hand like two kids fighting over a toy on Christmas. This moment would have been difficult for most actors, but Weisz has matured into one of our finest performers and she doesn't phase for a second. She could have easily slipped into unintentionally comedic melodrama but instead she brings down the house and almost brought a tear to my eye. It's a devastating moment in one of the strongest, most commanding performances of the year so far. A superb performance in a taut, intelligent thriller.
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Wow, hell of a movie and sad report on our inhumanity to each other.
davidfurlotte10 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Firstly, I have to say that I was greatly impressed at the quality of the movie because it was a Canadian production and to be honest, I have rarely seen us live up to the quality we are capable of achieving.

Rachel Weisz has definitely grown as an actress from her days of doing the Mummy movies. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved her character in those movies but I never would believe she could have the 'chops' to do a movie this intense and carry it off. Kudos to you, Rachel, you were magnificent.

To the reviewer that thought this was some kind of "CSI" movie, I have to agree with another reviewer. OBVIOUSLY, you need to buy a clue and realize that this was not just some fairy tale; it was a very dark, real, portrayal of human trafficking that is going on all around us.

But this movie was more than just a story, it is a report on an INTERNATIONAL organization that is supposed to PROTECT the helpless not only turning a blind eye, but actually becoming INVOLVED in something that 55 years ago, people were being tried and hung for in Nuremburg.

As a resident of Markham, just northeast of Toronto, I had to chuckle when I saw them using Toronto City Hall as the U.N. offices in Bosnia but I'm sure that only Toronto residents would recognize the interior.

Overall, an excellent movie, worthy of many awards and I only hope that many more people will see it and realize how serious a problem we have on our hands. Please do give it a watch. I now find myself having to watch "Taken" because I need something to uplift me a bit and make me think there is someone out there that can do something righteous against these human trafficking scum.
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Where Few Dare To Tread...
AudioFileZ14 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
With billions of dollars behind "peace keeping" in torn countries like Bosnia it is a given that there will be needed order, albeit with corruption. Paid handsomely, low-level people, workers in these countries are seen by their corporate employers as necessary "grunts" getting the day-to-day work done and silently bank their tax free earnings. For the most part that bet seems an easy way for these powers to amass wealth while enacting little real change. Their small roles, big paydays, combined with the quite dangerous, hardly glamorous hard life they lead, usually, silence them for a quick in and out period of employment without any ripple to the system .

Sometimes unforeseen events do occur, mostly, they too can be contained. Few with purely idealistic goals survive any length of time in such an environment. These "troublemakers" can be summarily dismissed in obscurity. In relatively few cases there arises a most unlikely character who somehow, in spite of his/her relative powerlessness, rises and threatens to "shake" things up. "The Whistleblower" tells the story of one such person, who against the forces that be, exposed the complicity of the UN Peace Keeping Forces and a "Blackwaterish" private contractor in turning a blind eye to rampant human trafficking while, supposedly, returning Bosnia to order. This isn't a surprise that stretches one's imagination; yet, the fact that billions of tax payer's dollars supported this should outrage any moral being.

Kathryn Bolkovac, a divorced former Nebraska policewoman, needs to make enough money to be able to finance a move to Georgia so she can be close to her two children who are in the custody of their father. She sees the job in Bosnia her best bet to succeed in that goal while, hopefully, working in the realm of law enforcement which she enjoys. Kathryn, played by Rachel Weisz, becomes aware of sizable numbers of European young women being forced into prostitution in Bosnia. The local arm of it seems to be run out of an outlying bar called The Florida Bar. It is common knowledge, yet the locals turn a blind eye. She immediately seeks a witness who will help her to use the legal system to prosecute those involved; to save these young girls and return them to their families. Kathryn soon realizes it will be a battle as The UN administrators, save one Madeliene Rees, do not want to get involved. What ensues is a harrowing story of one woman's "never say never" attitude as she goes up against The UN, governments, and private contractors who have a vested interest in dealing with other problems instead. If Kathryn wants to live and make it back to her kids she has to decide if the outcome is worth the risk. These are big stakes with such negative repercussions most workers would, likely, choose the route these other organizations have chosen. Not Kathryn.

This movie is anything but a grandstanding commercialized depiction tailored for mass movie audience consumption. The Whistleblower is very direct and economical in bringing to light the struggle waged by Kathryn. While being a Canadian production it is world class in both writing and filming. You feel the danger and the hopelessness that has surrounded Bosnia since civil war brought total chaos. Rachel Weisz performs at a level we've yet to see her achieve as the viewer feels the presence of a very real Kathryn Bolkovac's frustration and heartache. As the story builds the stakes, naturally, get higher. When it seems Kathryn's persistence will finally enact the freedom of the girls and the exposure of corruption she gets fired. No longer enjoying diplomatic immunity she is even threatened with the very legal system she sought to use to end this evilness. She risks her own freedom, which other than life's breath itself, is all she has left. At this point she teams up with a sympathetic UN executive; the only one Madeliene Rees implicitly trusts within The UN to be of any help. The two fool the corporate peace keeping organizations point man enabling Kathryn to flee Bosnia along with the police records that were to expose the corruption, but had been closed by mysterious forces. You need to see this movie as you will summon a very real-life outrage by things you had no way of knowing your tax dollars were financing.

I repeat "The Whistleblower" does not grandstand, but tells it completely straight with great realism. Everything works, the singularly amazing performance of Rachel Weisz, the perfect co-starring roles of Vanessa Redgrave as Madeleine Rees, and the very low-key part of the UN executive conspirator played superbly by the great character actor David Strathairn. Cinematography is suitably stark, gray, and hopeless, combined with the script, the location, and the performances we have a very palatable synergism. After seeing the movie the viewer wants to know even more, not the least of which is due to the factual aftermath revealed in the closing. Very powerful movie-making, a must see.
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don't trust military contractors
Lee Eisenberg5 September 2011
While the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia made a lot of news in the 1990s, less well known were the actions of military contractors in the region. "The Whistleblower" tells the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who joined a private company to serve as a peace-keeper in Bosnia, only to discover that the company was complicit in human trafficking.

The really ugly scenes are when we see what is done to the trafficked girls. It almost seems as though the movie should have focused more on them. But what is equally important to understand is not only the atrocities committed with impunity by private contractors, but the risk that whistleblowers face even today (as shown by the WikiLeaks case).

Either way, this is something that everyone should see to understand the reality behind modern-day mercenary armies.
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Riveting performance by Weisz
sundar_p12 September 2011
The Whistleblower (2010) is a movie based on the sad but true story of human trafficking by the employees of a firm contracted by the UN to provide security in Bosnia after the Dayton peace accord that put an end to the bloody conflict in the Balkans. Rachel Weisz plays Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop from Nebraska, who arrives in Bosnia to work for this firm and is seconded to the gender-affairs department. Weisz sees the stint as a much needed change of scene leaving behind a broken marriage, plus as an opportunity to improve her financial position given the compensation that comes with such a hardship-posting.

The times are tough and the residues of communal hatred still linger - one situation shows the apathy of the local policemen towards a victim of domestic-abuse given that she is from the "other side". Weisz stumbles upon a racket of human trafficking that lures young girls into slavery who are abused by ruthless sadists -- all with the active connivance and involvement of some employees of the firm. Wiesz lone voice is silenced by the firm -- despite the support she receives from a plucky UN officer for gender-affairs, played by Vanessa Redgrave.

Eventually, Rachel takes the sordid story, of protectors who have turned predators, to the media in the UK, where the firm is registered.

Fighting workplace conspiracy that is fueled by apathy and greed can be lonesome and Wiesz portrayal of a gritty professional is engrossing. One is reminded of the roles of Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich (2000) and Laura Dern in Damaged Care (TV 2002), standing up for what is right despite being stymied by the perpetrators whose acts have the undertones of gender-bias, and suffering the indignation while staying the course with deep conviction.

The movie is spartan in production-value, driving home the truth that a good script and great performances are more than enough to tell a story.

The story makes one wonder of the risks that arise out of the involvement of private enterprises in security and policing, notwithstanding the mandates under which they operate.
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Worth to watch
Ali M18 August 2011
The movie uncovers some truths which anybody wont feel better on seeing this.It shows the ugly side of UN and the peace keepers.Rachel weisz did a phenomenal acting. i strongly recommend to watch it to see the ugly truth of the peacemakers. For the director its a nice debut and a bold one. i guess Rachel weisz would get an Oscar nomination for this role.Sex trafficking in war beaten country and on those people whom they are supposed to protect were their to rape and sexually torture them.i don't know what really happened there and what are the real deal is but this movie is a glimpse of what would happened.if i am not wrong i can expect these kind of activities in other war affected countries, where these contractors and peace keepers went.
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Powerful, Gripping and Heartbreaking
Claudio Carvalho7 March 2013
In 1999, in Nebraska, the police officer Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) sees the chance to raise money to be close to her teenage daughter, who lives with her father in another state, with the temporary assignment serving as U.N. peacemaker in Bosnia.

The idealistic Kathryn believes that she can make the difference in a country devastated by the war, and she works hard and is promoted to director of her department. But soon she discloses a corruption and human trafficking ring with the direct participation of contractors and diplomats that have diplomatic immunity and she does not know who is reliable.

"The Whistleblower" is a powerful, gripping and heartbreaking movie about corruption and human trafficking in a country devastated by the war. There are great movies about human trafficking and "The Whistleblower" has a plus since it is based on true events.

Rachel Weisz has a top-notch performance in the role of the brave Kathryn Bolkovac, whose story can be easily found in Internet. Ms. Vanessa Redgrave and the always efficient David Strathairn lead the magnificent supporting cast. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "A Informante" ("The Whistleblower")
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D G2 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen countless movies in my life and have never had one affect my emotions any harder. I don't feel disgust I feel anger. It's hard for me to believe that in the civilized world we live in today that human trafficking would even be an issue and yet we keep seeing these types of movies. I have never wanted to see another human destroyed as much as I wanted to see these despicable men begging for their lives and enjoying seeing their demise.

I am a man of peace and yet I could feel anger for the injustice that this movie portrays. I only hope that everyone involved in human trafficking gets a giant piece of what they have dished out in their lives.

As far as the production and cinematic presentation of the movie, it really doesn't matter because it was the story that hit me.
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"Immunity, Not Impunity."
vsaxena-205-3031166 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The type of odious life form I most despise in this world is the sex trafficker--that soulless man or woman who profits off the abuse and torture of women. Even sadder though are all the good men and women who remain silent as evil thrives all around them. This movie features the very opposite type of person, as it chronicles an extraordinary woman who courageously stands up for the truth, despite the numerous obstacles in her way.

Enter Kathryn Bolkovac, an American police officer who signs up to be a U.N. International Police Force monitor in Bosnia a couple years after the signing of the Dayton Agreement. The country was in a state of disrepair, and so international forces were required to maintain order and facilitate investigations.

In the film, which portrays a fictional account of Kathryn's struggles, she soon meets Raya, a 15-year-old runaway sexual slave who was trafficked into Bosnia from the Ukraine by her aunt's boyfriend. But to her utter shock and dismay, Kathryn discovers that everybody is in on the sexual trafficking business, including the Bosnian police, many of her colleagues and even international figures of prominence.

She convinces Raya to testify against the bar owner / pimp who managed her and to identify those UN peacekeepers who paid for sex, but before Raya can speak in court, she is abducted again, and then tortured. Despite diligent attempts to subvert these heinous crimes, Kathryn continually comes up short, blocked at every attempt by members of DynCorp, the private military contractor, aka private corporation, that hired her.

The traffickers subsequently kill Raya, and DynCorp opts to terminate Kathryn from her position after she sends an email to the CEO wherein she explicitly details all that she has heard and witnessed. Thankfully, with the help of British policeman Richard Monk and the head of the UN Human Rights Commission, Madeline Rees, Kathryn is eventually able to expose DynCorp to the general public.

Sadly, in real life, practically nothing happened after the story hit the headline news. DynCorp released those employees accused of participating in the sexual trade, but not a single one was prosecuted--even those officers who originated from the United States. To this day, DynCorp continues to receive billions in dollars from our beloved government, despite the fact that the conduct of their employees hasn't changed a single bit.

God bless governments and private corporations, aye?
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I'm Not Like You
David Ferguson7 September 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. Emotional exhaustion swept over me as this film came to an end. Based on the true experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, we see what a true hero is. She absolutely refused to turn away from the despicable actions of her co-workers and government officials.

Rachel Weisz delivers what is far and away her best performance yet. She captures the emotional complexity and strength that Ms. Bolkovac displayed. Some have stated she was conflicted, but I never saw that. I saw the character of a woman who had a clear understanding of right and wrong ... and would settle for nothing less than "right".

Kathryn, a Nebraska cop, accepts a UN peacekeeping job in post-war Bosnia. Her spirit and strength is recognized, and rewarded with promotion, by Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) who is director of the Human Rights Commission. It is in this job where she slowly uncovers the corruption and cover-up of sex trafficking of underage girls. Even more sickening is that this most profitable business is being run by the peacekeepers and law officers being paid to protect these citizens.

It turns out that though Ms. Bolkovac was fighting for these human rights of these girls, she was also working diligently to expose the corruption of the private contractors hired to supply personnel in all aspects of recovery in countries such as Bosnia. In her situation, the private contractor was DynCorp and she had no problem pulling back the curtain on the lack of training and control exhibited by this and other contractors.

Combine that with the frustrations in dealing with bureaucrats such as Monica Bellucci's character, it often feels as if Ms. Bolkovac is fighting a one woman crusade (with a little help from David Strathairn's character). When red tape (such as no passport for the abused girls) and diplomatic immunity become major players in fending off her efforts, we get the wonderful line "immunity not impunity". That explains a great deal.

The film is directed by first timer Larysa Kondracki. Setting and tone is well captured, but the editing of many scenes left me somewhat distracted, but not to the point of annoyance. There is so much tension and exposure to despicable actions in this film that I found it difficult to relax afterward. The strength and courage of this woman will restore your faith in humanity and remind us we should never turn away from doing the right thing.
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Difficult to watch but educational and worrisome. Can the UN be this bad?
himelda14 August 2011
A true story of women trafficking while the United Nations and its peace keepers ignore the problem and even deny it. The movie is excellent at giving the viewer the sense that those in command do not care when women are trafficked, slaved and prostituted. It is a real story and it is portrayed with a realism that is captivating. You live the story minute by minute and you get involved in the traumatic experience of The Whistleblower, her desperation and sadness are very well portrayed. A must be understand the horrors of war and the capacity that commanders have to ignore the problems. Bosnia was not a place that attracted a lot of attention. Massive killings took place while the world looked else where. Perhaps because it has no oil, or because it is a Muslim country, the media ignored the war. And now we see how the media also ignored the reality of that war and the misbehavior of its commanders. Can something be done at this stage? Can we still learn lessons??
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Oscar-worthy Rachel Weisz
Harry T. Yung10 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This gutsy dramatization of the story of Nebraska police officer Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) starts with a cryptic introduction of her predicament, as one of the few divorced woman with custody of the daughter awarded to the husband (the movie hasn't explained why but the ex-husband did make some comments to the effect of her being "married to her job"). In order to be closer to her daughter, she strove to get a transfer to Atlanta, without much luck, until an offer came – a deal that she be posted first to Bosnia for a six-month U.N. peacekeeping assignment.

Her initial experience was one of frustration, witnessing how people who were supposed to help really did not care – "Bosnia, specializes in fxxx-ups" as one co-worker quipped. To most of these people, complicated racial makeup and long-harboured hatreds were too much to disentangle. Steadfastly loyal to her job, she helped win a racial-prejudiced case in court, which brought a promotion to head a department in the U.N. Gender Affairs Office. This, unfortunately, was only the beginning of a nightmare.

Raid of a local bar unveiled corruption in the form of protection money to harbour prostitution. But this was only the tip of an iceberg. What started as an investigation of one or two corrupted officers turned out to be a David-and-Goliath fight against people in high places who, rather than just harbouring prostitution, condoned full scale sex trafficking by all kinds of people with authority and diplomatic immunity.

In many ways, this movie is similar to "Fair game" (2010), another recent true-story based movie. People at high places have lost their fundamental sense of right and wrong, serving an animal called "political necessity". In both cases, the protagonist promised protection to civilians to obtain their co-operation, only to end in bitter remorse when they found that they were powerless to deliver the protections they gallantly promised.

But there were also differences. In "Fair Game", the protagonist tried to bend to avoid breaking, before finally fighting back. But when she finally did, the audience was awarded with the satisfaction that poetic justice exists not only in fiction, but also in real life (sometimes), as the movie ends with a clipping of the real person's opening address in the enquiry where she blew the whistle (and at least one of the rouges was jailed, we learned in the movie). In "The whistleblower", exposing the case through the British media did not result in any prosecution. Some people were brought back from Bosnia, but were probably reassigned to other places such as Iraq where they could presumably continue with their hideous crime.

While there are some dramatized thriller elements, the movie is tough to watch and depressing to emerge from. Yet, the fact that the movie has been made and is watched by millions of people around the word is a positive note. Weisz in this movie has taken her performance even one notch higher than in Agora (2009) and has been tipped for an Oscar nomination, or even win. She deserves at least a nomination. While this is mainly her show, there is an absolutely first class support cast including Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn, portraying her two true allies in a sea of enemies. Monica Bellucci played an unpleasant character, not exactly a villain, but a rigid bureaucrat who places rules and regulations way above human compassion. This is a somewhat out-of-character role for voluptuous Bullucci and my guess is that she takes on the role as one in a movie with a worthy cause.
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Human Trafficking is not important...apparently!!!
loco_735 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"The Whistleblower" is another of those movies that fall under the category of "important", which seem to have been discarded and buried by the studios with little or no promotion or press as to its release. It brings to mind movies like "Without A Name", "Shake Hands With The Devil" and a few others.

It is almost as if the studios and all other parties involved are embarrassed by this movie and having made it in the first place, so they chose the middle of summer to bring it to screen, and worse, on as few of them as possible. Buried amongst a slew of popcorn blockbusters and big title releases, this movie disappeared quickly from movie theatres and from people's awareness, as it appears was intended.

Its subject matter is not an easy one, as it deals with one of humanity's scourges, namely human trafficking, a phrase which seems to be more acceptable and suited to our modern day sensibilities and political correctness, a scourge that I, myself, like to call it for what it actually is...slavery.

Yes folks, if you thought that slavery is buried and gone, you are dead wrong! It still thrives and it is as cruel, barbaric and dehumanizing as ever. Faces, places and dates might have changed, but the basic cruelty and oppression upon which slavery is based has remained.

Though the story is set over 10 years ago, most of the subject matter is as relevant today as it was then, as is the urgency to deal with this dark and on-going chapter of human history, one which our "civilized" world apparently continues to tolerate and allows to exist.

The wonderful cast, Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Regrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn among them, tries to bring some humanity and context to this depressingly realistic take on the trafficking and sale of human beings, in this instance women from the former Yugoslavia and the rest of the Eastern European bloc.

The movie is as bleak as the topic it tackles, and as devoid of a clear-cut resolution or triumph as in real life. Every small success is counteracted by more disappointment, failure and a deep sense of impotence and frustration at the inability to do anything about it. The identity and nature of the parties involved and partaking in this cruel and inhumane enterprise is all the more shocking and discouraging. It is literally one step forward and two steps put it mildly.

If you are looking for some story of heroism or some silver lining, be forewarned...there is none. Still, I would like to challenge people outhere to see this movie for themselves, rent it, buy it, watch it on-demand, stream it on the internet, whatever! I feel that this film deserves more attention from as many people as possible.

If enough of us see it and if any of it permeates into our consciousness, then perhaps we will at least be more aware of the world we inhabit, better yet, some brave souls might even decide to do something about it!
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Deserved a better film
johnklem5 June 2012
The cast and story deserved better than this. The director's inexperience shows in the heavy-handed and sometimes melodramatic treatment this deeply disturbing episode is given. It works best as a conspiracy thriller and there are genuinely suspenseful moments but the filmmaker'a agenda is too obvious. From the opening scenes, this is clearly about women suffering in a man's world and that message is repeated over and over again. An experienced director, or one with more distance from the script, would have wooed his or her audience rather than assaulting them and the message would have been all the more effective.
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Harsh Realities Exposed
gradyharp22 January 2012
THE WHISTLEBLOWER is a film that kicks you in the stomach and then continues to play out the worst possible truths that we'd rather not admit exist. The theme of the film is Human Trafficking, and apparently there are about 2.5 million victims around the world today - young people who are sold into sexual slavery for the financial gain of people from all areas of life, including our own government, the International Practices Task Force, and contracted companies supported by the US Government to rebuild who are assigned to third world countries and countries besieged by or recovering from war, and in our own cities in this country. This film is based on a true story, a story written (and discussed in the bonus track on the DVD) by Kathryn Bolkovac who was transferred from her police job in Lincoln, Nebraska to Bosnia (with the promise of $100,000. and a six month term) to monitor the local Sarajevo police and advise them on proper police procedures. Bolkovac's story was written for the screen by Eilis Kirwan and director Larysa Kondracki who also directed the story with stinging reality.

Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is a recently divorced mother of a young girl who has lost custody of her daughter because of her constant commitment to her job. When she is offered a lot of money and an advancement if she will go to Bosnia on a special assignment she accepts, feeling that if she ha money she can return home to live close to her young daughter. When she arrives in Sarajevo she is treated with distance from the colleagues with whom she will be working. Her first accomplishment is bringing to justice the abuse of a Muslim woman who has been constantly a victim of spousal abuse - something not considered a crime until Kathryn proves it in court. She soon discovers that there is a human trafficking problem in Bosnia where young girls are brought into the country, sold as sex slaves to tend to the needs and whims and cruel and often sadistic whims of the IPTF (International Practices Task Force) as well as the US and international soldiers assigned by the UN to cover the recovery of Bosnia. She visits the bars where the girls are kept, finds evidence of physical violence and abuse in the filth of the atrocious living conditions the girls are subjected to, and begins her attempts to save the girls - particularly Raya (Roxana Condurache) and Luba (Paula Schramm) whom she promises to protect if they will testify about their conditions. Kathryn seeks solace from a Dutch compatriot boyfriend Jan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and takes her case to the UN person in charge (Monica Bellucci) who is a by-the- rules leader and cannot offer help to Kathryn. Kathryn is contacted by Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave), the High Commissioner for Human Rights who aids her in her plight and puts her in contact with Peter Ward (David Strathairn), in Internal Affairs chief of the UN complex. Kathryn finally discovers that the perpetrators of the human trafficking are the very people with whom she works and she is ultimately fired from her position. But before she leaves she releases the documents she has created that prove the victims of human trafficking are under the direction and service of the employees of the UN - in many ways her dangerous mission has been accomplished and the Democra, a security contractor, is exposed.

Rachel Weisz brings a very human quality to her role, making her transformation into a heroine for the abused victims all the more credible. Her performance is outstanding - and in the conversation with the real life Kathryn Bolkovac in the bonus feature with the film the manner in which Weisz succeeded in her role is all the more impressive. This is a tough movie to watch, but it is a necessary statement to make the heinous crime of human trafficking more widely known and punished throughout the world. Highly Recommended.

Grady Harp
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Brilliantly disturbing
Jacqx Melilli2 January 2012
Rachel Weisz is brilliant as Kathryn, a US cop whose dedication and commitment to her job results in her losing custody of her daughter. She is offered a high paying 6 month post working for the UN in Bosnia which changes the course of her life. She is the only woman on the force working amongst hard-nosed men who have little regard for women. Her excellent work protecting the rights of Muslim women is noticed by Madeline, played by Vanessa Redgrave, who offers Kathryn a promotion to Head of Department.

Kathryn's bull-headed determination to investigate, what appears to be, discrepancies with how cases are handled begins to create tension with her colleagues. It isn't long before things begin to unravel when Kathryn discovers that the girls from a local bar are part of a human trafficking business. The girls, held against their will are brutally beaten, drugged and tortured. What Kathryn uncovers puts her life in danger and has huge international implications for the persecution of high officials employed as peacekeepers.

The film is action packed from start to finish and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The brutality is severe, making the facts that this is also a reality for 2.5million victims of human trafficking difficult to conceive and devastating to accept. The atmosphere created by the bleak and colourless location accurately reflects the lives of those trapped in its existence.

Rachel Weisz's performance is exceptional. Her eyes speak volumes. The viewer is swept along Kathryn's journey at such a rapid pace that it is easy to be caught up in Kathryn's frustration, and the compassion she feels for the young girls whose fear of the brutal treatment by their captors outweighs their courage to try to escape.

It is a disturbing and stressful film to watch because of the truth of the facts. It is brilliantly written and directed by Larysa Kondracki. The film is an amazing achievement as her directorial debut. Also of high standard is the cinematography work of Kieran McGuigan, and brilliant editing by Julian Clarke. It is a film worth seeing and one that will be etched in your mind permanently. There are many reasons to see this film, the most important is for the awareness it brings to human trafficking and the exposure of the people who are paid to protect. If youth won't listen to the advice of their parents, they may pay attention to what happens in this film.
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Oscar? I don't think so!
constantineboleyn30 August 2011
I'm from Belgrade, Serbia. It is not important at all but I wanted to say that... I really needed an intelligent movie like ''Whistleblower'' this summer. It's well-crafted story, with stunning performance of Rachel Weisz. She's superb. Keeps you on the edge of your seat to the very end. Human, but not false - very real on the contrary. And yes, it's Oscar worthy performance! (Of course, there will be Meryl, Glenn, Keira...) But, this movie is such a slap to America, to the UN, to Democra. So I bet... I BET!, Rachel wouldn't be nominated for the A. Award. Do you remember ''Avatar - The Hurt Locker story''? Well, it's the same!
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Must see movie
nparvaneh3 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.This movie was the saddest movie i have watched. If anybody rates this movie less than 10, i am not sure what she or he is watching.
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