The Whistleblower [Blu-Ray] Larysa Kondracki

The Whistleblower [Blu-Ray] Larysa Kondracki
A commonality amongst political issue movies is the tendency to wax sanctimonious about the subject, shoving a single moral sentiment down the audience's throat without a great deal of grace or discernment. It's a movie with an agenda, coming from someone keen on indoctrinating others via any means necessary (cartoon vilification, slow motion sequences, heavy handed sentiment, overwrought exploitation of real life events), even if it means sacrificing the legitimacy of a narrative that most likely would have been fine without stacking the deck. And while Larysa Kondracki's even-keeled horror story of human trafficking on post-war Bosnia doesn't entirely escape this sense of overplayed morality, it does manage to communicate its point with dignity, avoiding exploitation and cloying emotional tactics despite tackling a tragic topic. Smartly, she takes this story of struggling single mother Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) taking a job as a Bosnian peacekeeper and makes it a quiet allegory about male institution, acknowledging both the subject of rape and forced prostitution, as well as the greater structure that allows such things to happen repeatedly in a similar, albeit less grave, context. Shortly after arriving in Bosnia, Kathryn recognizes legal imbalances, handling a spousal abuse case otherwise ignored, since the victim was a Muslim. Her determination turns a few heads, leading Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) to appoint her as the head of gender affairs at the U.N., where she learns that corruption and male solipsism originate from the top down. Instead of doting on the expository nature of the story, documenting the legal process of Bolkovac's frustrating journey of trying to free young girls from a loophole that keeps them working as "waitresses" at a secluded, and very lucrative, bar (aka whorehouse), Kondracki makes this a character piece about a woman realizing that male institutions will only accept her if she obeys the rules they've created to maintain power and control. It's an intriguing and actively rage-inducing viewing that gets its point across quite clearly, featuring a very focused and emotionally draining performance from Weisz, whose range only continues to grow. Sure, some of the administrative handlings and overly simplified male villain characterizations are a little cartoonish and convenient, but the restrained vision and focus on ideology serves the story well. Included with the Blu-Ray are interviews from the cast and crew, who express the expected investment in the touchy subject matter. (eOne)