The Whistleblower Review | EW.com

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The Whistleblower

The WhistleblowerAny somber Canadian art thriller that's called The Whistleblower leads you to expect a number of things: It will be about hidden crimes,...The WhistleblowerDramaPT100MRAny somber Canadian art thriller that's called The Whistleblower leads you to expect a number of things: It will be about hidden crimes,...2011-08-04Monica BellucciVanessa RedgraveMonica Bellucci, Vanessa RedgraveSamuel Goldwyn Films
Rachel Weisz, The Whistleblower | U.N. PEACEKEEPER Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower

U.N. PEACEKEEPER Rachel Weisz in The Whistleblower (Cary Fukunaga)

B

The Whistleblower

Genre: Drama; Starring: Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave; Director: Larysa Kondracki; Runtime (in minutes): 100; MPAA Rating: R; Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Any somber Canadian art thriller that’s called The Whistleblower leads you to expect a number of things: It will be about hidden crimes, it will showcase corruption in high places, it will feature a protagonist who puts him or herself at risk by dragging the crimes (and the cover-up) into the light. The trick is, can the movie turn all of this into a spontaneous drama of explosive moral action rather than an all-too-familiar conspiracy-film ritual?

The Whistleblower succeeds, even if it hardly rewrites the genre. Based on actual events, it’s staged with an understatement that’s rooted in the muddy squalor of reality. Rachel Weisz has a cold and desolate fury as Kathryn Bolkovac, a hard-bitten, divorced Nebraska cop who takes a job as a U.N. peacekeeper in Bosnia. It’s 1999, and on the outskirts of Sarajevo, Bolkovac discovers a brothel that looks like a frat house with a ? decaying dungeon. That’s because it houses girls who’ve been trafficked. A number of the peacekeepers are clients of the place, but that’s merely the first link in a chain of crime.

Rarely has a movie captured the obscene violence of sex trafficking with such unvarnished grubbiness. In the end, though, The Whistleblower is a corporate thriller. It has an official with bad skin that hints at his inner rot, Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn as noble insiders who want to help Weisz (or do they?), and a cache of documents that must be stolen, in a sequence of midnight suspense, from an office. The mind has seen it before, but the heart still beats quickly. B

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