by Caress Thirus
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Rachel Wiesz shines as Kathryn Bolkovac in Larysa Kondracki’s The Whistleblower. Based on a true story, the film follows a scandal involving international cops in post-war Bosnia. Bolkovac, a recently-divorced mother and cop looking to transfer from her police station in Nebraska, is given the opportunity to transfer to Bosnia in order to help clean up the city and close various war-related cases. She applies and becomes a temporary member of the International Police Task Force, a section of the UN.
The ever-ambitious Bolkovac goes above and beyond to make sure she helps every individual affected by the war as much as she can. She becomes emotionally involved, and is persistent in making sure each case is closed. Her tenacity is soon recognized by Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave), who promotes Bolkovac to head of gender affairs after just two months. Aside from the fact that she misses her daughter, Bolkovac enjoys being so far away from her life in Nebraska, and even meets a new man. Her love life becomes a side story and, though it’s not really relevant to the case, it helps viewers to remember that, despite her tenacity and authority, she is only human.
Everything changes when Bolkovac uncovers a scandal. To make matters worse, the scandal involves UN members, who have immunity. In addition, laws are different in Bosnia than they are in America, and Bolkovac discovers that she’s on her own in trying to fix this worldwide, billion dollar scandal.
Being a woman in a country with sexist views doesn’t help much either. Many of the workers freely hit on Bolkovac (no sexual harassment laws) and dismiss a lot of what she’s saying as nonsense. After a while, Bolkovac comes to the realization that trust is not something that should be freely handed out, and that sometimes, there is nothing that can be done to fix a problem. That doesn’t keep her from trying.
Bolkovac puts her life in danger in an attempt to stop the scandal and expose the UN for the danger that it puts people in every day. Breaking policy and ignoring protocol become a part of her everyday work, as these laws are often put in place just to keep the authoritative figures on top.
Toward the beginning, The Whistleblower lags where it’s not important and speeds through scenes we would presume to be important. However, aside from a few odd camera tricks, this is the film’s only flaw. It is an incredibly powerful and well-done movie overall.
Caress Thirus Caress Thirus is a film lover from Chicago, IL. A recent graduate of Roosevelt University, she enjoys indie films, foreign films, and clever psychological thrillers.
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