The Whistleblower

Bringing home the issue of sexual slavery more forcefully than a thousand Ashton Kutcher tweets, Larysa Kondracki's first feature is set in the lawless landscape of post-Dayton Bosnia, where former Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz) is hired on to a government-contracted U.N. security force. (The story is true, although the name of Kathyrn's then-employer, DynCorp, has been changed.) Divorced and desperate, she needs to make quick cash, but her investigative reflexes kick in after observing battered, scarred female patients at a U.N. hospital. The husbands and fathers who might have protected them have been taken by war, making the country an ideal breeding ground for human traffickers and other assorted vermin. Kathyrn is shocked to find girls are being kept as sexual slaves---and that the peacekeeping forces, from contractors on up through the U.N. command, are either complicit or active participants.

Our heroine plods doggedly through her frequently stymied investigation, and The Whistleblower follows suit, trudging forward one encumbered step at a time. Although Kondracki intersperses shots of a Ukranian runaway (Condurache) and her frantic mother into the muckraker-on-a-mission narrative, the film's narrow focus constrains a proper pullback to the larger picture; the final titles devote more space to Kathyrn's fate than that of the girls she tried to protect. It's easy to gin up outrage, but understanding is a rarer, and far more precious, commodity.

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Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday August 5 2011
Duration: 112 mins

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