When Lincoln, Nebraska, cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) accepts a temporary position in Bosnia as part of the U.N. peacekeeping team, she knows it will be tough work but she needs the money so she can fight for custody of her kids. Once on the job, Bolkovac is told to interview two young women who are in Bosnia with fake passports. When Bolkovac discovers they were victims of a sex-trafficking operation, she vows to protect the girls. The deeper Bolkovac digs, the more dangerous it becomes, not only for herself but also for the victims.
The Whistleblower, directed by Larysa Kondracki, is based on a true story. Although the beginning of the film, when we are introduced to the principal characters, is a bit slow, once Bolkovac arrives in Bosnia, the action picks up, and I was totally hooked. From the moment the sex ring is uncovered to the twists and surprises that are revealed as Bolkovac continues her investigation, I couldn't look away.
It's not an easy film to watch, but it's an important film. The women are tricked into prostitution, and the way they are treated is almost incomprehensible; the movie doesn't sugar-coat the situation. Suspense is high because, like Bolkovac, we don't know whom to trust on the U.N. team or which of the civilians hired to help rebuild Bosnia's infrastructure are good guys. Some the men Bolkovac worked with were willing to go to any extreme to keep the sex ring thriving and bringing in money. Bolkovac's determination and personal dedication to the victims were acts of bravery.
David Strathairn, Benedict Cumberbatch, Monica Bellucci, David Hewlett, and Vanessa Redgrave also star in the film, which came out on DVD and BluRay last week. The bonus material includes interviews with the cast and crew and the real-life Kathryn Bolkovac.
This is not a movie for the whole family, but it's one I recommend. Note that some of the movie is subtitled, but most of it is in English.
Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the review copy of the BluRay.