Weekend Roundup and The Whistleblower Review

Happy Tuesday, folks! Well, Minnesota weather is all but predictable and this weekend alone we seem to have gone through two seasons within a matter of 48 hours! On Saturday it was a balmy 69 degrees — people out driving their convertibles and walking in shorts ‘n sandals. There’s even a tornado touch down in a town next to mine, which is unheard of in November! But by the time Sunday rolls around, cool cold wind sets in and by Monday morning, wind chill factor is in the single digit, plus there’s a coating of snow on my way to work [sigh]

Photo courtesy of Startribune.com

I count myself blessed that I didn’t live anywhere near a hill like this one in Ramsey Street in St. Paul! There were a ton of accidents this morning as people were slippin’ and slidin’ down the icy road.

As for movie watching, well it ended up being the weekend of Mr and Mrs Daniel Craig. I saw Skyfall on Friday night and on Saturday I saw a movie starring Craig’s wife Rachel Weisz called The Whistleblower. The two played husband and wife in the the thriller Dream House and got married soon after. I think Weisz is gorgeous enough to actually play a Bond girl, I wonder if she’d ever considering it though. I mean that’d be something we’ve never seen before in the history of Bond movies, seeing a husband and wife playing Bond and Bond girl!! Anyway, thanks to Amanda who told me in the comment section of my rant post that this film has now become available to rent.

Now on to the review…

The Whistleblower (2010)

A drama based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who served as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and outed the U.N. for covering up a sex scandal.

Despite the stellar cast, for some reason this movie is rather obscure. I don’t even know if it ever got a theatrical release, seems like it went straight to dvd after it premiered in various film festivals. It’s too bad as it’s a decent film that deals with an important subject matter most people don’t know about. It’s heart-breaking to learn about the human trafficking and forced prostitution happening in Bosnia, especially when it’s done by the security people contracted to protect those people.

This film is deliberately done like an investigative journalism without much flair. The ‘raw’ quality is likely due to its shoe-string budget, but I find it fitting given the subject matter. In fact, I feel that the lack of ‘beauty’ in this film makes us focus on the story more, there’s not pretty scenery or manipulative music to distract us, it was just the characters and what’s happening to them. The living condition these girls are subjected to is appalling and heart-wrenching, but nobody is willing to stand up for them. In a way it’s a David vs. Goliath story told in a matter-of-fact manner.

Rachel Weisz is excellent as the sympathetic police officer who’s in over her head trying to do the right thing. She could be too strikingly beautiful for this role, but somehow they manage to make her look quite plain here. I’m glad she took on an important role despite this being a low profile project. The film doesn’t portray Bolkovac as a flawless saint, but she’s certainly heroic in risking her job and her own well-being going after such a protected organization. The supporting cast is top notch, we’ve got Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci, David Strathrain, and Benedict Cumberbatch who sadly wasn’t given much to do.

Despite the powerful, ripped-from-the-headlines story, the slow pacing and some unnecessary subplots such as Bolkovach’s romance with a colleague drag the film down. It could be due to director Larysa Kondracki’s lack of experience, as I feel that it could’ve been a much more intriguing film than what it was. Overall, it’s truly a difficult film to watch, the tone is staggeringly bleak which makes it even more depressing. The violent scenes are pretty brutal, there’s one particular scene that is so barbaric that it’s painful to watch. Yet the violence is not meant to be ‘entertainment,’ but to show just the kind of extreme brutality and injustice happening in our world.

What’s most depressing is that these atrocities are still allowed to continue as the perpetrators are not persecuted due to diplomatic immunity. That said, I’m glad they brought this story to light and it’s always inspiring to see regular people standing up to those who can’t defend themselves. Despite its flaws, I’d recommend this film, it’s really quite eye-opening.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels

Well, that’s my weekend roundup. How ’bout you, seen anything good?

34 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup and The Whistleblower Review

  1. Glad to hear to got a chance to view this one. I pretty much felt the same. Rachel Weisz was excellent and director Larysa Kondracki’s lack of experience doesn’t help it. Still, it is something to see and a subject worth exploring. Well done, Ruth.

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty bleak overall but glad all the performances held it together. I really like Weisz and Redgrave is always excellent. Glad you’ve seen this one, Michael.

        1. I do remember that Michael! I think I told you then I really wanted to check it out. You’ve got tons of awesome series on your blog, my friend.

  2. YIKES! The weather looks nasty. We are just getting our first taste of cold weather but nothing like that. Looks like good ‘hot chocolate and a dvd’ kinda weather!

    1. Yeah, I guess Winter is just getting started, but fortunately it’ll be in the 40s this week and no major storm in sight, thank God! Btw, where are you at again?

  3. A Bond husband and wife team? Now there’s a suggestion. 😉

    Good review here Ruth. This might be something I’d like. I was going to overlook this one but I’ll reconsider now. That’s quite an impressive cast it has also.

    1. Yeah, why not right? I think Weisz would make a sexy and smart Bond girl!

      I’ve been wanting to see The Whistleblower for a while but it wasn’t available to rent. The cast is truly impressive, Mark, hope you’ll give it a try.

  4. Wow, that road looks like a mess! We got some flurries last night but nothing that stuck to the ground. Too bad, I was getting used to that 60 degree weather 🙂

    I might have to check out The Whistleblower. Wasn’t aware of that story, and the film definitely slipped under the radar.

    1. I know, 69 felt really nice on Saturday! But reality bites on Monday, ahah. I knew we’d get punished for being so spoiled! Fortunately the highways were pretty clean on Monday morning and lots of people were off on Veterans day so that helps.

      I do think The Whistleblower is worth a look, Eric.

  5. Ted S.

    The Whistleblower sounds like a longer episode of Law & Order: SVU. They’ve done so many episodes about human trafficking, especially young girls in Europe; I might watch it if it’s on TV.

    Yeah I agree that Weisz should be a Bond girl, hopefully in the next one since she’s still young enough for the role. I remember reading an article where Terri Hatcher said she had to fight hard to land a role in Tomorrow Never Dies because they producers thought she’s too old to be a Bond girl.

    Besides seeing Skyfall last Thursday, I didn’t see anything new over the weekend. I rented Prometheus and watched it again, wasn’t impressed with it as the first time I saw it. Still an entertaining film.

    1. Yeah I reckon it could be a Law & Order episode, though TV won’t be able to show the brutality depicted in the film and I think it was a crucial plot point.

      I think Weisz would be a brilliant Bond girl, she’s still youthful looking and certainly she’s a much better actress than Teri Hatcher, ahah. I doubt that she’d ever do it though, she seems like a private person and starring with her famous hubby together would mean a lot more publicity on their marriage.

      I actually don’t feel like seeing Prometheus again, it was just ok the more I think about it. Skyfall on the other hand, I don’t mind seeing that again!

        1. Ted S.

          Same here Dave, I’m thinking Sr. Scott might be losing his mojo now that he’s getting older. I really enjoyed Prometheus when I saw it in theater back in June but yeah I agree the story just wasn’t as compelling as they made it out to be. The film does look amazing.

          1. As a visual stylist he’s still briliant but the problem lies in the story which Damon Lindelof, ofLost fame, and Jon Spathis, The Darkest Hour, wrote. (There’s a sequal planned…) Unfortunately they’re not Dan O’Bannon who wrote the original and wrote John Carpenter’s Dark Star, Total Recall and Lifeforce. Even while Cameron’s Aliens worked quite well as an sci-fi/action film it didn’t quite have visceral feel of the sci-fi/horror of Alien which to me belongs up there with 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner and The Matrixas sci-fi landmarks. Absolutely stunning visuals complimenting the well written stories that help them still hold up today. I didn’t include Star Wars because it just didn’t hold up as well for me over the years and Lucas hasn’t done himself any favors with the sequels and re-editing the original films. It’s nice to see sci-fi making a sort of comeback with Moon, District 9, Sunshine and the upcomming Elysium.

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah I don’t think she’d do it either if they offer her the role, she’s already played the girl who hangs around with the action hero in Chain Reaction and The Bourne Legacy.

        1. Well she was really the best thing in The Bourne Legacy. She needs a much more compelling co-star. I’d love to see him alongside Gerry Butler one day 😉

  6. Ruth not sure if I’m going to see The Whistleblower but that pic reminded me of this video shot in Pittsburgh a few years back. The cars coming over the top of the hill can’t see the wrecked ones below. Yikes. I lived less than a mile from here.

  7. Several years back on my blog I pitched the idea that Rachel Weisz could play Moneypenny. It’s not that she couldn’t pull off a Bond Girl – because I think Weisz can pull off most anything – but there is something about Moneypenny-type banter that I think settles perfectly in Weisz’s wheelhouse.

    1. Wow to see her as Moneypenny w/ Craig would be something. Too bad that position is filled now, but I think she’d make a killer Bond girl, maybe something similar to Sophie Marceau’s Elektra King.

  8. Great review! I agree that the actors were much better than the movie itself, but for me Weisz made it woth watching – I think right after The Constant Gardener this is my favorite performance of hers. Plus it’s always great to see Strathairn and Redgrave.

  9. I’ve been meaning to see this since it came out on DVD. I love the cast, so I’ll check it out at some point. By the way, the film did get a limited theatrical release in the U.S. in 2011.

    Caught up on some Bond films and some Ingmar Bergman ones this weekend, which is an odd combination. 🙂

    1. I bet the theatrical release was VERY limited, probably just in big cities like LA, NY, etc. Ha..ha.. Bond and Bergman, now that’s eclectic 🙂

  10. I didn’t know Craig and Weisz are married…what a charming couple!!

    I wanted to watch Whistleblower when I Know that Benny is in it but backed down when I knew he only played small part.

    1. Yeah it was quite a whirlwind romance as I think both were engaged to other people at the time. Yeah, Benny’s role is tiny but still it’s fun to see him talking with an American accent.

  11. I still can’t believe Craig and Weisz are married. I think they’re a fantastic, great-looking and very talented couple; love them.

    I didn’t know they were going out and then bam! One day I’m surfing the internet and I see they got married (?!)

    …and you know how I feel about The Whistleblower so I won’t repeat it, haha.

    1. Yeah I think they look good together. Funny how blonds often go for dark haired people and vice versa. Yeah I think they both managed to keep things private.

      Ahah yeah well I’m glad I still gave it a shot. I could see why you think it’s boring, I think the subject matter is far from that though, and the performances kept me engaged.

  12. That’s hilarious to me as we got basically nothing in the South western suburbs and I was wondering why everyone was late to work and complaining about the roads. Anyways, it happens every year with the first snow.

    This past weekend, I only saw Skyfall. I really need to pick up the moviewatching… 😉

  13. Pingback: The Film Emotion Blogathon: 5 films to represent the 5 emotions in Pixar’s Inside Out |

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