By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
The myriad inventive ways humanity can commit crimes against each other seems infinite, but the crimes that The Whistleblower document likely deserve their own circle of hell. Combining all of the worst of human bondage, torture, rape, and murder, what really elevates them is the supreme betrayal of trust it takes to turn a mandate of protection into a license to exploit. But I guess if humanity can invent The Luther, it can’t be all bad…
…or maybe more evil than we can understand
The film tells the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, an American police officer who accepts a job as a privately contracted U.N. Peacekeeper inBosnia. There she gradually uncovers a human smuggling and prostitution ring that appears to be enjoyed, expedited, and to some extent owned by her fellow Peacekeepers. She struggles against their legal immunity, a culture of fear, and superiors wishing to prevent a scandal in order to tell the world and shut this down.
I first have to toast the simple existence of this film, as it tells an important true story that most people are completely unaware of. It’s the type of story that fills you with righteous indignation, and the filmmakers know how to channel this emotion to put you in the characters’ shoes and get under their skin.
This is accentuated by the performances, especially the cold, bureaucratic Monica Bellucci…
Who we haven’t seen in awhile
… and Rachel Weisz, who demonstrates again why she’s one of the best in the biz. She plays a brash, almost butch tough-gal type that is far from her usual character, and shows us the pain, fierce determination, and deep compassion coursing underneath her hardened exterior.
First, never underestimate your audience. Film is a visual medium, so show, don’t tell. When you rely on the latter you’re either saying your actors are incompetent or your audience is stupid, neither of which are true for this film.
So, don’t write lines like “My girl was taken away so I want to help you.” Bonus swig: How exactly are child custody laws the same as sex slavery?
Another beer goes down the hatch for some Lifetime movie-caliber melodrama here and there. The film’s events are clearly dramatic enough, so why the need to include scenes Meryl Streep would have trouble pulling off, much less an actress who could be her daughter. “Just let me die!” indeed.
The script could have used some snipping and tightening here and there, but Weisz’s bravura performance and a devastating story pull it through.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every cover-up attempt or betrayal
Take a Drink: each time someone gets implicated in the conspiracy
Drink a Shot: whenever the girls from the beginning end up in deeper shit