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Movie Review

The Whistleblower

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent content including a brutal sexual assault, graphic nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Julia Webster
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama
Length:
1 hr. 52 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
August 5, 2011
DVD: January 24, 2012
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Samuel Goldwyn Films

sin and depravity—the fall of man

the real Kathryn Bolkovac

prostitute, prostitution, brothels

WOMEN’S RIGHTS—The Bible alone offers true freedom for women.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

anger

justice / justice of God / the final judgment of God

CHANGE THE WORLD—A single man or woman can help change the world. Read about some who did with faith and God's help…
Jesus Christ, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

hope

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.

sex traffic, trafficking, selling sex slaves

United Nations (U.N.) Mission peace keeping force, peacekeepers

quest for justice in the face of a truth no one wants exposed

CONSPIRACY, CORRUPTION—organizations facilitating the very crimes they were created to stop

Featuring: Rachel WeiszKathryn Bolkovac
Monica BellucciLaura Levin
David StrathairnPeter Ward
Vanessa RedgraveMadeleine Rees
Benedict CumberbatchNick Phillips
more »
Director: Larysa Kondracki
Producer: First Generation Films
Barry Films
more »
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films

“Nothing is more dangerous than the truth.”

“May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!” —2 Samuel 3:39

American movie-goers are becoming more and more desensitized to the brutality and violence often depicted in the films we see. Even movies that are “based on actual events,” like “Slumdog Millionaire,” “City of God,” and others, are pretty horrifying. Though such films are always interesting and can help to shed light on events happening around the world, do we really want to subject ourselves to views of such debased human behavior?

“The Whistleblower” is another movie with a “real” story to tell. It centers on a group of young women in Eastern Europe who are being subjected to sexual slavery. As such, the film contains a lot of monstrous and graphic scenes of sex, nudity, violence, torture, and murder. The fact that all of these things are happening to young ladies, just adds to the repugnance of the film.

Rachel Weisz (with an excellent performance) portrays real-life Nebraska policewoman, Kathryn Bolkovac, who travels to Bosnia as a United Nations peacekeeper. As part of her job in the departments of “gender affairs” and “repatriation,” Kathryn investigates the plight of two young women who have recently escaped a gang of human traffickers. She encourages the girls to testify against their captors, promising to protect them from further abuse. Kathryn has good intentions, but finds herself battling a net of corruption and cover-up by the upper-echelons of the U.N. Forces, as well as the independent contractors working in the country.

Aided by Internal Affairs advocates (played aptly by Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn), Kathryn fights to make the brutal truth known, in order to bring the criminals, many of whom have diplomatic immunity, to justice. As the plot twists and turns, it is obvious Kathryn doesn’t know whom she can trust. In the end, it becomes clear that promises can only truly be kept by God (Numbers 23:19).

The suspense and excitement in the film are very real, though the story can be hard to follow. The dark lighting makes the plethora of different characters often indistinguishable from one another. The portrayal of fear by all the prisoners is palpable, as they suffer abuse from the evildoers. One can only hope the victims will find the victory, freedom, and strength that inspired David to write the 23rd Psalm, as well as many of the other psalms.

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

As can be expected, vulgar language, smoking, excessive drinking, and other immoral behaviors are pervasive throughout the film. Graphic images of women being brutalized, tortured, and murdered are an unavoidable part of the story. Though “The Whistleblower” is, in general, well-made, I would strongly suggest avoiding it.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—The reviewer admits this is a well-made film on an important subject, but still does not recommend it? To me, this poses several problems. First and foremost, this film is not meant as entertainment, nor is it meant to be viewed with the whole family. Instead, this film is meant to be viewed by mature adults and is intended to be disturbing and horrifying in its revelation of the crimes committed. Most of all, this film wants you to get angry, at the crimes committed and how those in power turned their backs on the victims of that crime. I myself could not sleep after viewing this film; I was to angry and spent most of the night researching the subject matter of the film.

For the record, the company that Kathryn Bolkovic worked for, and whose employees committed the crimes or covered them up, was Dyncorp International (called Democra Secure in the film). Dyncorp has never been made to answer for the actions their employees committed, indeed they have provided contractors for Afghanistan and Iraq (one wonders at their conduct and the effects on the war effort in those countries). more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jim (an agnostic), age 28 (Canada)
Movie Critics

“…Rachel Weisz… Her performance in ‘The Whistleblower’ elevates her into the Oscar-worthy ranks of Norma Rae, Karen Silkwood and Erin Brockovich—a real-life crusader who steps outside her comfort zone to do the right thing, whatever the cost.”
—Jennie Punter, The Globe and Mail

“…isn’t as gripping as it could have been, that’s no fault of Weisz’s: She gives a bracing, wholly connected performance as the real-life Kathryn Bolkovac. … she’s absolutely believable…”
—Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter

“To the short list of this year’s must-see movies, quickly add ‘The Whistleblower’… Rachel Weisz delivers a powerhouse performance…”
—Rex Reed, The New York Observer

“…it all feels laid on a bit thick. … excessive earnestness… too well-intentioned for its own good. …”
—Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

“……uneven… Kondracki’s direction fizzles. …Because of the abrupt tonal shifts, Kondracki does not maintain momentum. Despite this, Weisz does. …”
—Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“…an important story that fails to find the drama… That you leave the film with nagging doubts and questions is not a problem. That you leave it with a sense of disappointment, however, is.”
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

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