Man, I bet the guys who came up with this movie are wishing Rachel Weisz didn't break up with Darren Aronofsky. This type of darkly thrilling, disturbing grit that serves as a portrait of real life issues is right up his alley. Well, come to think of it, as great of a director as Aronfsky is, I wouldn't want him to do this. Not because he would have done a bad job, but because he's known to not be shy about showing the nasty and - woah, boy - this is nasty in all kinds of ways. Well, I guess he could get on board, because this film is unsubtle enough. Plus, he would have made this film moderately exciting. No, just kidding; this is a fascinating, powerful premise... but the execution is a little bit boring, but lord knows that's not its only flaw.
As with many films of this type, the film is quite slow during the less thrilling points, but when the less thrilling points aren't so dull, it's because the filmmakers just couldn't wait for the thrilling points, so they went right ahead with the tense music and overstylizing. Much of the score and style has too much grit at points, and often contradicts the slower tones. To make matters worse, when the most thrilling moments finally roll in, we're so use to the overly gritty points that preceeded, that the tensity is diluted, and it doesn't help that the film is low on subtlety. John Beifuss of "Commercial Appeal" hit the nail right on the head we said that this film is "structured and shot like a quality premium-cable channel police drama". This film could be worse, but still takes that unsubtle and overstylized approach to this material, but because it's a portrait on real, very provocative events and issues, it makes that hit hurt even more. Still, what seperates this film from those shows is the audacity taken. Okay, it's mostly the acting that's the biggest difference, but this is still heavy material that could have been approached more subtley, but still gets you thinking.
This material is disturbing and gritty, and summons so many moral questions. "What would you have done?" is a question asked almost as much as "Is there anything that I could have done?" It is a thought-provoking piece of subject matter that may not impact some as heavily as it impacts others, but will more often than not, get its point across, through all of its faults. Still, what carries this film is most is the acting, which I've heard called much better than the film, itself. I strongly agree, but it's not like that's a bad thing, because the acting is what really brings this story to life, with everyone giving such emotion and strength in their presence, particularly leading woman, Rachel Weisz. Weisz has been all over the place this year, but in films that no one is seeing, and that's a shame, because she's such a solid talent, and this film in particular really shows that. Weisz really gives it her all, but in a graceful fashion, giving off such a palpable tone of sharp compellingness with her often subtle, but sometimes very high, and very fine emotional work and generally engaging presence, which really summons the sense of danger and importance in Kathryn Bolkovac's story of fighting for justice for the disgustingly degraded, making her both a powerhouse lead for this film, and among the best performances by an actress this year, and that is saying quite a bit, considering that this is looking to be the year of the strong leading woman.
In the end, it conforms, not to a fine film of its type, but to the overstylzing and lack of subtlety that plague the less competent police thrillers, but its provocative tale still keeps enough of its impact, partially thanks to the many excellent performances - particularly the one done ever so sharply by leading woman, Rachel Weisz -, "The Whistleblower" remains a generally fascinating and thought-provoking portrait on the depths of corruption and cruelty in humanity.
3/5 - Good