Monday, July 16, 2012

The Whistleblower: DVD review

Larysa Kondracki’s film is, as one might expect from its title, based on a true story. Kathryn Bolkovac was a United Nation police officer with defence firm DynCorp in war-torn Bosnia. She stumbled upon a slavery ring operating there, with members of her own corporation involved and UN officials turning a blind eye. When she sent a dossier to her employers, she was first transferred from the case, and then fired.

In the film, Bolkovac is played by Rachel Weisz, who’d turned down the role once, but then agreed when she found out no one was willing to make the movie. This isn’t surprising: the horrors Bolkovac witnesses and betrayals she faces make for unrelentingly gloomy viewing. Two senior UN officials (Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn) offer small amounts of assistance, but for the most part, this is a lone-woman-against-the-system saga. That The Whistleblower pulls no punches, especially when dealing a topic that often gets swept under the carpet, is commendable. However, the film is hampered by the grim claustrophobia of its own subject matter. In the end, the issues loom larger than the characters, who are – with the exception of Bolkovac herself – very one-sided. The DVD comes with no special features.

This review appeared in Time Out Delhi.

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