The Whistleblower (2010) Blu-ray Review: A Highly Effective Film

Kathy Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) is a cop from Nebraska, who is so focused on her career that she has neglected her family. And because of that neglect, her husband has been awarded full custody of their daughter and is moving them both out of state. But with her lack of funds and inability to transfer between police agencies, Kathy cannot follow along to be near her child.

When she hears about the incredible money that cops are receiving for joining private security forces in war-torn Bosnia, she decides that this may be her only option. She immediately signs up to become a U.N. peacekeeper and heads off to Bosnia.

Initially thinking that this will be a temporary job, she finds herself drawn into the plight of the Bosnian people. Women are treated as second-class citizens and domestic violence isn’t even a crime. After managing to get a victim to testify against her abuser and receiving a guilty verdict, the first one in history, Kathy finds herself promoted to head the department of gender affairs.

As head of this new department she slowly begins to discover that more is going on than just domestic violence. An entire network of human trafficking of young girls is rampant throughout the country. Not only are the local cops involved, but the deeper she looks into the cases, it becomes evident that members of the U.N. are involved.

The story follows one girl in particular, Raya (Roxana Condurache), who was sold into slavery by her own aunt and who Kathy struggles to save. When she tries to bring this news to light, she discovers that not only do the governments and U.N. know about the atrocities, but they are covering them up and will stop at nothing to keep her quiet.

The film is presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 ratio on a 50GB Dual Layer disc. The video is quite crisp and clean with very sharp blacks that make the rest of the colors pop on the screen. It’s somewhat of a double-edged sword because it makes the film look too good. The grittiness and dirtiness of some of the scenes could have used less polishing instead of more.

The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that is under used. There are a couple of scenes in the bar where you really feel immersed in the setting because there are voices coming from all sides, but most of the time there is nothing spectacular going on with the audio. It’s a film based on a lot of dialogue as opposed to action.

There is only one special feature on the Blu-ray. “Kathy Bolkovac: The Real Whistleblower” is a combination behind-the-scenes look at the film while at the same time offering comments from Kathy herself. It is a very generic feature that really needed more detailed depth into her and the situation she was in. The whole piece came across as very hollow and shallow after having watched the film, which was much more emotional and intense.

While The Whistleblower starts off a little shaky with minimal character development in the beginning of the film before Kathy is sent to Bosnia, it slowly adds layers of intrigue and emotion that culminate in a highly effective film by its conclusion. Performances by award-winning actors like Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave, and David Strathairn also help to elevate this emotional film to another level.

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Todd Karella

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