The Whistleblower Review
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Every day, millions of people go to work and quietly do their jobs, keeping their heads down and their mouths closed, sometimes overlooking errors and even injustices, not wanting to make a scene or step on any toes. But it’s often the scene-makers and toe-steppers who make a difference—people like the real-life cop who inspired writer/director Larysa Kondracki’s eye-opening debut, The Whistleblower.

When Nebraska police officer Kathy Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) accepted a position as a UN peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia, her plan was simply to earn enough money to move closer to her ex, who’d gotten custody of their daughter. Once she arrives in Sarajevo, however, she finds herself doing more than the basic peacekeeping. In a country that’s still torn apart by racial hatred, many victims don’t get the justice they deserve—and Kathy vows to help them.

After helping a local officer get a first-ever domestic violence conviction, Kathy is promoted to the head of the gender affairs office. When she’s called in to care for a young assault victim, her investigation leads her to a horrifying sex scandal—one that involves a number of her colleagues and other international personnel.

The Whistleblower isn’t a relaxing, Friday night kind of movie. It isn’t light or fun or enjoyable to watch. It’s a challenging—and quite often disturbing—real-life drama that will sometimes make you want to hide your eyes from the horrors that Kathy investigates. At the same time, though, it’s also a tense thriller. The deeper Kathy gets into the investigation, the more suspenseful her story becomes—and you may just find yourself holding your breath as she takes each dangerous step to try to help these battered young women.

Weisz, meanwhile, sells the role as only a likeable, Oscar-winning actress can, giving the kind of emotional performance that will make viewers want to stand up and fight with her. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s playing such a strong and determined character. At times, Kathy’s story may get caught up in unnecessary distractions (like her relationship with one of her fellow international peacekeepers), but it’s an admirable and inspirational story nonetheless.

Unfortunately, The Whistleblower doesn’t get the conclusion that it deserves—though that’s certainly not the fault of the filmmakers. Obviously, the companies involved will do anything to protect the bottom line—and the various agencies would prefer to avoid scandal—so Kathy had (and continues to have) some pretty powerful opposition. For that reason, the film doesn’t exactly end on a satisfying note. It will, however, open audiences’ eyes to these injustices—and it may even inspire other scene-makers and toe-steppers to take a stand of their own.

Blu-ray Review:
The Blu-ray release of this eye-opening drama isn’t especially filled with special features. In fact, there’s just one—but, really, it’s the only feature that’s needed. Kathy Bolkovac: The Real Whistleblower is a short feature about the real woman behind the film. Through interviews with the cast and crew, as well as Kathy and others involved in the story, it tells just a little bit more about her real-life situation—about her feelings and experiences. My only complaint is that it’s simply too short. At just five and a half minutes long, it’s able to offer just a glimpse of this remarkable woman—and just a brief overview of this inspiring story in her own words.

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