Based on a true story, this political drama centers on a Lincoln, Nebraska police officer who doesn't like what she sees when in postwar Serbia as a U.N. peacekeeper.
Perhaps the too blandly titled The Whistleblower (funded from Germany and Canada) starring a deglamorized, pony-tailed Rachel Weisz putatively entails some grueling subject matter and thematic material from the opening frames.
Directed and co-written by Larysa Kondracki with much attempt to uncover the brute facts, its conflict and pacing isn't as finely tuned and involving as Weisz's real-life character Kathryn (Kathy) Bolkovac.
In 1999 Kathy hasn't been able to transfer to another department to be near her daughter where her ex-husband has custody of her. A chance to earn six figures (tax-free) in Bosnia over six months catches her eye to serve her maternal needs.
Yet, after doing her diligent work and being promoted to the U.N.'s Gender Office by Human Rights Commission boss Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) Kathy comes into contact with an illegal human trafficking operation. Those complicit in the malfeasance can be linked back to her colleagues.
The tyro helmer allows Weisz to take on the gritty, startling authenticity with ardor and intelligence without smug moralizing when there is more to sexual assault analysis. She's very persuasive beginning with a solid accent and has much backbone as Bolkovac putting her own personal situation at risk for "white slavery" atrocities.
Too bad a more deft hand isn't structurally and visually representative as David Strathairn appears welcomely as a fellow, potentially helpful bureaucrat and Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Kathy's new love interest. This fact-based tale has Weisz affecting similar at times to her activist in The Constant Gardener. But, she gives more to what could have been more fiercely poignant and taut, rather than the muted result which hardly reconnects to an onlooker with equal, opportunistic, striking verisimilitude.