Monday, 22 August 2011
“Sometimes stepping back is part of the job...”
The Whistleblower: directed by Larysa Kondracki; written by Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan
The Whistleblower is a specific kind of issues-centred film, the kind of which we’ve seen in hoards over the past decade. This time the issue at the centre is human trafficking in Bosnia, a dreadful situation that Nebraskan policewoman Kathryn Bolkovac turned peacekeeper happens upon when she takes a job in post-war Bosnia. It might be post-combat, but it’s certainly not post terror as young women are being sold to soldiers, diplomats and civilians. A character puts it so succinctly – they’re whores of the war. Obviously, it’s a story that deserves to be told but Kondracki, although creating a film that’s hardly genre defining manages to avoid a number of the more obvious pitfalls that befall the genre even as the film experiences occasional missteps.
There really isn’t much for those around her to do, even as Monica Bellucci, David Straitharn and Vanessa Redgrave do good things with small categories. Of the supporting cast it’s Jeannette Haine who impresses as one of the abducted girls mother. She’s something of a dead ringer for Joan Allen and gives an astounding performance in a matter of minutes. Cinematic-wise the film really isn’t that peerless, it’s generally a quite standard exercise but Kondracki controls it all with a sense of professionalism – intent on showing the horrors, but stepping back just enough to not making it overwrought. She’s lucky enough to have Rachel at the helm, and that’s what ultimately makes this one to consider.