MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Rachel Weisz takes center stage in “The Whistleblower,” a film about Kathy Bolkovac, an American police officer who joins a peacekeeping force in Eastern Europe following the conflicts in Bosnia. While working to bring order and justice to the people in the war-torn area, Bolkovac uncovers a seedy human trafficking ring that victimizes girls from the region. Even worse, she uncovers evidence that many of her fellow police officers are heavily involved in not just utilizing these services but providing them as well.
Human trafficking is a real problem in the world, and it’s only recently been brought to light under the media. I’m sure that the crimes that the real Bolkovac uncovered were heinous and tragic. However, “The Whistleblower” lays things on so thick they quickly become unbelievable. The film itself admits that this is a fictionalized account and not meant to represent every case.
The problem with this is that it overplays the issue. It seems that the story takes all the worst elements of human trafficking stories from around the world and stirs them up into this one case, to the point it becomes somewhat ludicrous. This is typical of films wanting to over-dramatize the situation for the effect of timing and emotion in a film.
On top of this, the film spends far too much time on Bolkovac as a character and her quite humdrum and somewhat unpleasant life. She’s not an intriguing character in the least, and the film only becomes compelling once she starts chasing the real criminals.
Recently I read up on the notorious movie “A Serbian Film,” and the director had said part of the reason he made it was as a statement about his own country’s push to victimize itself. He complained that most movies of note from that region feature girls in trouble who rise to the occasion and fight. This is basically the plot of “The Whistleblower” from a different angle, and I found that rather telling about the push to make this film.
Yes, “The Whistleblower” has its heart in the right place. However, that heart is bleeding a little too much.
The only special feature on this disc is the featurette “Kathy Bolkovac: The Real Whistleblower.” While this featurette punctuates the fact that this is all based on a true story, the discussion is still very vague and caused me to question even more how accurate the events of the film were. It did nothing for me to embrace the full story and not roll my eyes at how thick they laid the drama.