The Whistleblower


Doing for post-war Bosnia what Silkwood did for plutonium plants

Doing for post-war Bosnia what Silkwood did for plutonium plants, this indignant exposé of sex trafficking is a grim watch that offers no easy answers.

At its core is a driven turn from Rachel Weisz as a Nebraskan cop who accepts $100K to become a UN peacekeeper, only to find her fellow contractors are frequenting the very brothels she’s trying to shut down.

Faced with intransigence and corruption at every turn, she persuades a Ukrainian prostitute (Roxana Condurache) to testify against her captors without realising how far they’ll go to protect their lucrative business.

Based on real events, Larysa Kondracki’s sombre drama wears its heart on its sleeve and has a fierce moral conscience. Yet this doesn’t excuse its clunky storytelling, with attempts to follow both the indomitable heroine and cruelly abused victim resulting in a broken-backed narrative that never achieves the momentum of a thriller.

Kieran McGuigan’s photography swathes the visuals in a Stygian murk, while a supporting cast, which includes Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and Benedict Cumberbatch, appear to have had their contributions pared to the bone.

The conclusion, meanwhile, does little to suggest its inspiration’s whistleblowing had any tangible effect, beyond giving Weisz a commanding role reminiscent of the activist she won an Oscar playing in The Constant Gardener. Still, it’s hard to fault the passion that got such a difficult film made or its willingness to address a pressing global injustice.

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