The Whistleblower (Larysa Kondracki, 2010): USA

Reviewed by Charles Starr, viewed at SBIFF 2011

I attended a screening of the movie The Whistleblower as part of the Santa Barbara Independent Film Festival. The Whistleblower is director Larysa Kondracki’s first full length feature and she was fortunate enough to work with talented actors such as Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave. A factual political thriller, The Whistleblower is based on the experiences of a former Nebraska police officer Kathryn Bolkovac. After her divorce and the loss of her daughter’s custody, she moves to Bosnia to work for a month to earn more money and be better able to stay close with her daughter who had moved away with her ex-husband. She ends up extending her stay for 6 months as a peacekeeper and it is here that she discovers a whole controversy involving the UN’s involvement in human trafficking and really dives into her work.

Human trafficking is said to be the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, a fact I only came to understand after having seen this movie and doing some research. It is a crime being commited in almost every nation, including our own. Human trafficking usually involves the sexual exploitation of women or children as a means to pay a debt and has an annual revenue of billions of dollars. I am glad a movie like this was made in order to educate the public about what is going on.

Again, Kondracki was incredibly fortunate as a first time director to credit such big names to her cast that undoubtedly drew an audience to her film. I also thought the cinematography and the way in which the film was shot was very conducive to this type of film and overall, I found the film very well done. It really had an emotional effect on the audience that I felt myself and saw in the expressions in the faces of the people around me in the theater. My hope is that Larysa Kondracki goes on to have a successful career as a director. I hope she has an interest in making more fact-based political movies because I feel that this one was really well done.

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