The Whistleblower - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Whistleblower Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 26, 2015
The only trouble I had was with the actors/characters who are wasted and disappear without explanation, like Benedict Cumberbatch, but still this is a riveting film based on a real story that is so horrendous (a huge stain in the history of the UN) that it would be hard to believe if it were fiction.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2014
This film is based on Kathryn Bolkovac's attempt to expose DynCorp's (Democra in the movie) sex trafficking of minors in Bosnia and is everything but an easy watch. Too bad they chose to fictionalise so much of the story.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2013
A police officer volunteers for the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and uncovers a scandal involving human trafficking.
A fine, unremarkable social issue drama that looks unflinchingly at the cruelties of sex trafficking, The Whistleblower has its moments when it is remarkably compelling only because the material is tough to watch. While it attempts to wring ethical questions out of its hero's predicament, anyone with half a moral compass would find the character's choices obvious.
Rachel Weisz has done better American accents in her other work, and that's about the extent of my criticism of her work here. She's good, but there's little extraordinary about her performance.
Overall, as social issue dramas go, this one is good but nothing profound.
Super Reviewer
May 16, 2011
Great story about how civilized men will act like animals when put in a lawless environment. War is a dirty business. Apparently, so is peacekeeping. This movie is about real events, and a real act of bravery, and dedication. Sickening, and heartbreaking..but a story that needed to be told.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2012
Not going to win any awards for filmmaking, but had a crucial story to tell and told it effectively. I need to look up Kathy Bolvac now. Reminds me of my purpose in life, to fight for respect for womankind. Weisz is solid as usual, playing the rock-steady female lead. Everyone involved in the movie makes me proud.
Super Reviewer
March 7, 2012
The makers care little to mar UN's image & are set to expose it (as if it needs to be exposed; it's a GK now), but couldn't dare to use the real names of the companies involved. A bit ironic that The Whistleblower blows at its own comfort. Oops, my bad; they do mention that the concerned companies are earning in billions even thereafter. Nevertheless, the movie has some shining moments & deserves accolades for it.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2011
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Benedict Cumberbatch, Monica Bellucci, Liam Cunningham, David Strathairn, Vanessa Redgrave, David Hewlett, Luke Treadaway, William Hope

Director: Larysa Kondracki

Summary: Sent to Bosnia to train cops in the aftermath of that country's brutal civil war, American policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) uncovers evidence that U.N. peacekeepers are complicit in a flourishing sex-trafficking trade. But when she brings her allegations to light, she discovers that her foes are more powerful than the law. Based on a true story.

My Thoughts: "This is not an easy film to watch. There are some horrific scenes of young girls having unimaginable things done to them. But it's reality, and that is what makes it that much more horrifying. What Kathryn Bolkovac did was heroic and fearless. It's sickening knowing our countries police officers participated in those heinous crimes. I find it devastating that they went unpunished. Some kind of punishment should have been brought to them. The whole story is inspiring yet devastating that there isn't more being done to prevent these things from happening. Maybe more will see this film and be encouraged to take more action against these frightening acts. Now for the acting. Rachel Weisz was amazing in this movie. She portrayed the strong female lead who takes on the male dominant force and doesn't let them stop her from keeping her promise to those girls. You can not walk away from this film and not be effected by this movie. Kathryn Bolkovac is a hero."
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2011
Impressive performance by Weisz. Gripping plot.
Super Reviewer
½ June 7, 2012
A brilliant, taut thriller with a message that will enrage anyone with a shred of conscience. Human trafficking is a very real problem and is largely responsible for enslaving millions. Rachel Weisz starred as the idealistic policewoman who uncovered a sex-trafficking ring that reached into the highest levels of the UN peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and was summarily dismissed from her job because she had gotten too close to the truth. Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn, Monica Belluci, and Jan Van Der Velde provided strong supporting roles and Roxana Condurache played the tragic victim who served as the focus for this tale. A few plot holes kept this from earning the top rating, but the powerful message more than makes up for the inevitable gaps that might have landed on the cutting room floor. That so many profited from this evil trade that exploited vulnerable young women and treated them as less than human should cause deep national shame. But until Ms Weisz, who produced, brought this story to light, not many had even heard of it, so effective has the cover-up been. Kudos to Ms Weiszand to the real-life heroine of this tale, Kathryn Bolkovac.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2011
In "The Whistleblower," Kathy Bolkovac(Rachel Weisz, suitably impressive) is in a bit of a pickle. Her ex-husband has custody of their daughter and is moving out of state. Sadly, Kathy cannot get a transfer as a police officer to be near them. So, her supervisor suggests she apply for a job as a United Nations peacekeeper in Bosnia for six months for $100,000. While there, she gets the attention of Madeleine Rees(Vanessa Redgrave) for getting justice for a Muslim woman beaten by her husband and is promoted to the head of the gender affairs division. That's when Raya(Roxana Condurache) and Irka(Rayisa Kondracki) come into her life.

While "The Whistleblower" never fully gets going and suffers from more than its fair share of cliches, it is still realistic enough to suggest no great criminal mastermind in the way of Moriarty, just a lot of low level evil and lots of good people looking the other way. Luckily, Kathy(based on a real person) is not one such person. Ironically, the movie's message is if anything looks too good to be true, then it most certainly is which links Kathy to the trafficked girls, instead of perhaps Kathy thinking of her daughter when she sees them. It is definitely a plus to have such a forceful point of view as Kathy's to see the crimes unfold before us but it is so intense that the human trafficking storyline feels like another movie entirely.(Strangely enough, I thought the lectures on post-war Bosnia were the most interesting parts of the movie.) The movie also allows us in to her head to feel what she does but it is not shock or revulsion as much as it is frustration at the bureaucracy and the kind of person recruited by contractors, as the viewer is also frustrated by this deeply flawed movie.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2011
Not a bad story, just not excellent. The twists and turns harm the believability of the final result. Sticking true to the true tale likely would have had better results. Seeing Toronto City Hall used as the U.N. headquarters in Bosnia was an unexpected hoot.
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2012
This movie is based on a true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, an American police officer hired by DynCorp ( Democra in the movie) a private military contractor, as a UN peace keeper in Bosnia where she uncovers a huge human trafficking trade involving most of the higher ups.

A first rate cast led by the amazing Rachel Weisz, this movie rips into international diplomatic hypocrisy, private military contractors and massive international level corruption.

It is very important and a damning evidence of how private military contractors are coming in as peacekeepers / law enforcers and gradually turn into wolves themselves, and how little governments care.

A very sorry state of world affairs. Please watch.
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2012
Whistleblower is a fact based political drama that serves as a powerful indictment both of the UN, private contractors (one is reminded of Dyncorp), and the geopolitical system that not only looks past its' own corruption, but actively covers it up. Very well done film, with an especially strong performance from Rachel Weisz. It's not always easy to watch, but that's what makes the film so successful, it refuses to ease you with a Hollywood fairytale ending, that's not the world we live in, and that's not the world of the film. The script wasn't perhaps as polished as it should have been, but the gritty realism and intense emotion on display more than make up for it.

4/5 Stars
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2011
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
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2012
A powerful drama based on a true story of how the UN was trafficking women whilst on a peace mission in Bosnia and the struggle of one woman to put an end to it. Weisz is very convincing as the angry woman against a corrupt and politically supported system.
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2011
Grim political thriller with a few moving moments of drama, mostly down to a strong lead from Rachel Weisz.
Super Reviewer
September 1, 2011
Thriller directed by Larysa Kondracki, written by Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan, starring Rachel Weisz. Inspired by actual events, the film tells the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, and premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.A policewoman (Weisz) risks her job and her own safety to uncover and bring to light a wide-scale, child sex-slave and human-trafficking scandal involving a U.S. military contractor, Democro Corp (a pseudonym for the real world DynCorp) and the United Nations in post-war Bosnia.Veri intense, rough and hard movie with great performance by Weisz, made almost like a documental movie.The cinematography is so realistic that looks like made with a handicam.Good.
July 3, 2012
Very much like Blood Diamond in that someone is trying very hard to shed light on a topic. Weisz is good in this. It's an intense subject. You're rooting for the good guys the entire time.
January 28, 2012
A story worth knowing. Sex trafficking is unconscionable, and it is imperative for more people to recognize how ubiquitous it is.
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