This first feature from Canadian director Larysa Kondracki is an earnest, effective bit of muckraking drama, based on the true story of an American woman who was wrongfully terminated from a U.N. peacekeeping job when she exposed criminal activity by her colleagues.
Rachel Weisz, in a very strong lead performance, plays Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop struggling with a lost custody battle and a failure to secure a transfer that would move her closer to her daughter. Adrift, Kathryn takes on a $100,000 appointment to serve as a government-contracted peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. On the job, she stands out from her colleagues by pursuing cases other deem not worth the effort, successfully coaching a local officer into arresting an abusive husband.
This work draws the attention of Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave), head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Sarajevo, who gets Kathryn an appointment as head of the "gender affairs office." There, Kathryn uncovers a sex-trafficking operation that implicates peacekeepers not only as customers by as par-ticipants in the trafficking itself.
Showing the exploitation of sex trafficking without being exploitative is tricky territory, and The Whistleblower wobbles a bit on that tightrope. But it provokes righteous anger without shortchanging the strong procedural plotting or overinflating its heroine. The Whistleblower returns for a full theatrical run after debuting locally earlier this year at the On Location: Memphis film festival.
Opens Friday, September 30th, at Ridgeway