Rarely has a movie captured the obscene violence of sex trafficking with such unvarnished grubbiness. In the end, though, The Whistleblower is a corporate thriller.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
"The Whistleblower" has a choppy, fumbling screenplay (by Ms. Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan) that lurches between shrill editorializing and vagueness while sorting through more characters than it can comfortably handle or even readily identify.
Stephen Holden - New York Times
A classic example of a film that doesn't trust the strength of its source material - or the intelligence of its audience.
Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post
"The Whistleblower'' effectively depicts the paranoia that builds as an increasingly frustrated and outraged Bolkovac is thwarted at every turn.
Loren King - Boston Globe
Late-reel scenes of suspense involving the heinously victimized Ukrainians fall somewhere along the line between shocking reportage and standard-issue torture porn.
Rob Nelson - Village Voice
Director Larysa Kondracki's fictionalized account of a true story is underserved by a melodramatic script; the result is like a film of a "60 Minutes" segment.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Clumsily didactic and flat.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
These cases rarely seem to result in change, and the stories continue. We can only guess what may be going unreported. "The Whistleblower" offers chilling evidence of why that seems to be so.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Larysa Kondracki's first feature successfully avoids the major pitfalls of the activist docudrama: the main character's heroism never overshadows the larger issue at hand, nor does exposition gum up the storytelling.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
Derives its strength from Rachel Weisz's intelligent performance as the real-life Bolkovac.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Somewhere inside this movie is a thought-provoking thriller about the collateral damage caused by geopolitical do-gooders. Too bad it never emerges.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Powerful and revolting, The Whistleblower makes you feel as if it could have been even more powerful and revolting.
Tom Long - Detroit News
You come away from watching the film with a moral bellyache.
Richard Nilsen - Arizona Republic
The Whistleblower is a grisly, authentic, meticulously researched, pulse-quickening political chiller about a hot-button topic that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
[A] harrowingly effective thriller.
Justin Chang - Variety
A pointless drama that trafficks in cliche.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
A first-rate one-woman-against-the-system drama, a film benefiting from grim recreations of an ugly reality and a stellar cast determined to expose it.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
It reminds us that there are those, in war or in peace, who will always seek to degrade and exploit, with a precious few others to speak out against injustice.
Bruce Demara - Toronto Star
In Canadian director Larysa Kondracki's gripping based-on-a-true-story debut feature The Whistleblower, Rachel Weisz delivers a subtle yet riveting performance.
Jennie Punter - Globe and Mail
Although the Canada-Germany co-production from first-time feature director Larysa Kondracki isn't as gripping as it could have been, that's no fault of Weisz's: She gives a bracing, wholly connected performance.
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
"The Whistleblower" is a one-note affair that offers glimpses of the rich, broad life Bolkovac clearly lives but deifies her into someone inaccessible and unbelievable.
David Germain - Associated Press
Weisz is a dazzling woman, but her beauty is barely noticeable in this role; her character's integrity and her mounting anger grab all the attention.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
The film swings from melodrama to sermonizing, both blunting the human drama that needs to come to the fore. Weisz holds the ground in a performance of ferocity and feeling.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Too well-intentioned for its own good.
Mark Olsen - Los Angeles Times
The Whistleblower offers fantastic performances from the entire cast. It's very atmospheric with grisly authenticity and a truly moving plot.
- We Got This Covered
A dark, uncompromising look into the disturbing world of human trafficking.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
Weisz's best role, and best performance, since "The Constant Gardener.
Leonard Maltin - ReelzChannel.com
The thriller stuff is very soft, and the docudrama stuff is too focused on "Oscar moments" (i.e. huge expressions of outrage and torment).
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Yes, The Whistleblower has its heart in the right place. However, that heart is bleeding a little too much.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
The Whistleblower goes off the rails a little -- I guess in an attempt to create more drama out of an already dramatic situation. As the plot devices pile up towards the end, it's a bit frustrating because there's a good movie in there somewhere.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
This is bleak terrain, but Weisz's performance helps us get through it. And as real-story films go, The Whistleblower is as accurate as can be.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Weisz is made for this kind of role; from "Constant Gardener" to "Enemy at the Gates," few actors can do absolute, unshakable conviction so well on screen.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
A reasonably taut story of political intrigue, international corruption and one woman's determined fight for justice
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
The closing minutes of the film suggest the most challenging parts of the story still remains untold.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Don't let the impressive cast list, which includes Vanessa Redgrave, Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn, fool you: This is the Rachel Weisz show.
Rob Boylan - Orlando Weekly
It's a good film with a strong central performance. The problem is that the film isn't as strong as the performance.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Structured and shot like a quality premium-cable channel police drama, this fact-based story might have had more impact as a documentary.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
[Weisz's] restraint offers a cold, evaluative gaze that makes what transpires all the more telling, and in the absence of direction that can make something more out of these elements than just condemnation, that becomes a strength.
Craig Mathieson - sbs.com.au
Instead of capitalising on a really fine performance from Rachel Weisz in the leading role, Kondracki makes a real mess of it.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
This is a truly depressing film, without any sense of release. You may even be tempted to give up on the human race while watching men casually trade and rape girls for a few measly dollars.
Scott Murray - Sydney Morning Herald
While the facts of the case demand this film can do no more than administer one big booster shot of buzz-kill, it is Bolkovac's ferocious will to right so many wrongs (expertly channelled by Weisz) that keeps you glued to the screen.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
While it's overstuffed with characters - and not entirely satisfying as an entertainment, the film does manage to remind us of the human capacity for rationalizing atrocity. And the human capacity for doing the right thing nevertheless.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
If the film occasionally falls into melodramatics, it's hard to see how a story like this could have been told otherwise.
M. Faust - ArtVoice
It is no comfort to reflect that The Whistleblower would be a first-rate thriller even if all of it were fiction.
Evan Williams - The Australian
It's a powerful and engaging film which gives no easy answers but tells an important story.
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
It's a story that should be told and Rachel Weisz's knockout performance is filled with integrity. My only reservation lies in the storytelling which never elicits the heartbreak it should.
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Leigh Paatsch - Daily Telegraph (Australia)
a film so tough, anguished and emotionally devastating that you can safely assume that Kondracki has scratched words like "compromise" and "safe" from her personal vocabulary.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
As vital as the message is, director Larysa Kondracki is making a movie, with the conventions of the thriller genre occasionally stifling the story's inherent terror.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
The film is at its best when showing how blind justice can be, and why people in occupied countries don't automatically cheer when so-called "peacekeepers" arrive in their country.
Michael Smith - Tulsa World
As Kathy suffers, you suffer, but, The Whistleblower insists, you will never know the full extent of the trafficked victims' suffering.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
Decent enough for this genre.
'Whistleblower' Calls Out Sex Trafficking
James Verniere - Boston Herald
In Weisz's eyes, we see Kathryn's transformation from a public servant doing what's expected of her to a crusader driven to by her own conscience. Her performance is terrific; the movie, sadly, is not.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Larysa Kondracki's topical thriller, based on a true story, combines the moodiness of The Insider with the intensity of Serpico to dramatize a long-standing international injustice.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Film has a responsibility to educate as well as entertain, and for those up to the task, this is an ofttimes powerful experience, with writer-director Larysa Kondracki avoiding unnecessary embellishments and letting the story speak for itself.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
As a throwback to the politically conscious, paranoid thrillers of the 1970s, The Whistleblower does a good job of mixing muckraking social commentary and suspense, while avoiding the typical missteps of the genre.
Jeff Meyers - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
If this well-meaning melodrama contains a call to action, it's as quiet as a dog whistle.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Rachel Weisz elevates the material with another awards-worthy performance. Two jaw-dropping postscripts at the movie's conclusion should get your attention.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
There are few surprises in its drama, and the relentless savagery of the wrongdoers wears you down. However, there is no denying the strength of its story and the commitment of its cast.
Jay Stone - Canada.com
The story is ugly, the movie grim and often hard to take, but also suspenseful, eye-opening and riveting.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Tension-filled political thriller - in the same genre as 'Erin Brockovich,' 'Silkwood' and 'Norma Rae.'
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
[Director Larysa] Kondracki, benefiting from her talented veteran cast, makes an assured debut feature film.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Whether this will get viewers interested in the subject at hand or numbed by the cruelty of it remains to be seen, but if any story deserves to generate outrage, this one certainly does.
Despite the fact that this issue is the spark that drives the story, the filmmakers have taken considerable care to create a full-bodied drama instead of a talking-points narrative.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
The movie is not great, but Weisz is.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Part thriller and part harrowing account of an outrageous, based-on-facts story of official corruption in the former Yugoslavia, "The Whistleblower" is a tense and shattering drama.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
Director Larysa Kondracki's debut film is unsparing in its portrayal of sexual trafficking in a supposedly civilized world. But it's valiant, too -- especially regarding Rachel Weisz's performance as reluctant crusader Kathryn Bolkovac.
John Anderson - Newsday
Even more unsatisfying than it was meant to be.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
The Whistleblower skirts the line between political thriller, conspiracy picture and melodrama, but it does it well, building the right amount of tension and intrigue as it gallops along.
Jonah Flicker - Paste Magazine
Credit director Kondracki with shooting her action scenes with just the right amount of heart-quickening pace, stopping short of the kind of over-the-top sensationalism that allows the action movie genre to print money.
Wallace Baine - Santa Cruz Sentinel
Not necessarily a great film, but an important story that needs to be viewed, understood and acted upon.
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
...often gut-wrenching and should throw a bigger spotlight on this shameful episode.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The Whistleblower is one of those issue films that is more passionate and sincere than artistic but it has such a compelling story that it demands being seen despite its flaws.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
In the anger, hope, desperation, and passion of the moment, Weisz channels lighting into a few minutes of screen time that are as powerful, as moving, and as dazzling as any actor has ever accomplished
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Make no mistake, The Whistleblower isn't an easy film to watch. But the horrors aren't in your face. And Larysa Kondracki... walks a careful line between showing us the devastating realities of trafficking and then offering us hope...
Camerin Courtney - Christianity Today
Director Kondracki has a knack for showing how less can be much more.
Its best asset is a gritty Rachel Weisz playing the real-life Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac.
Bruce Kirkland - Jam! Movies
A vital story couched in a marginal screenplay survives through the performances of several talented leads.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
It's unfortunate the movie loses [a] personal, microcosmic perspective to go after bigger targets.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
It remains a solid thriller that, like Bolkovac, never loses sight of what's most important: the victims.
Radheyan Simonpillai - NOW Toronto
Condurache and Weisz’s “small corrections” make a big difference in steering the movie right, enough to make The Whistleblower a decent entry in the genre of political passion plays.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
For those willing and able to sit through something so resoundingly unsparing, it is a dark and powerful drama that is truly not to be missed.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
This is a graphic, dark, violent piece of drama, as it should be given its subject matter, but it's the work of one of our best working actresses that truly makes it worth venturing into the darkness.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
Gradually, as her investigation deepens, and we see the true hideousness of what she is uncovering, the movie achieves urgency and clarity of purpose.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
That you leave the film with nagging doubts and questions is not a problem. That you leave it with a sense of disappointment, however, is.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
A grim, gripping and well acted movie that is better once it sheds its perfunctory familial obligations, pivots away from 'mere' maternal anger, and taps into a deeper, more fundamental rage.
Brent Simon - Shockya.com
A suspenseful, unflinchingly albeit pedestrian and emotionally uninvolving thriller that's saved by Rachel Weisz's bravura performance.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
The Whistleblower is frustratingly uneven, but at least it affords us the rare opportunity these days to meet up with a movie hero who isn't wearing jammies and a cape.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
It's a little sluggish in the first act perhaps, and not as slick as some, but it's still more authentic than most, and angrier, too.
Tom Charity - CNN.com
The film is not good or bad, but utterly affecting and incredibly timely.
Leslie Stonebraker - New York Press
We all know about good intentions and where they can lead. No one could question the serious intent of The Whistleblower or the scandalous behavior it reveals on the part of so-called United Nations peacekeepers in Bosnia during the late 1990s...
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
It's a thriller sobering enough in its graphic portrayal of forced violence against women that it would be tough to watch if not for the controlled fury Weisz brings to her performance as a down-to-earth avenging angel.
Bob Mondello - NPR
Thrilling when maintains damning focus on real woman's revelations about deep involvement of UN personnel and contractors, and her defiant determination against great odds.
Nora Lee Mandel - Film-Forward.com
Suspenseful and hard-edged...Weisz captures the sense of both righteous indignation and the dawning realization of isolation that Kathy feels.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The cardboard characters have no shadings between good and nasty here; and Rachel Weisz' face is often unsuccessfully framed to indicate thought or something.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
An earnest but sluggish tale of corruption in the aftermath of the Bosnian war.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
It's a gritty, often unsettling piece of work, though it does suffer from some of the structural problems that generally arise when you try to shape a composite of events and stories into a dramatic whole.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
arrives in theatres stamped with a self-important seal of approval
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
Rachel Weisz is tremendously moving in this fact-based story.
Thelma Adams - Us Weekly
A compelling true story about the transformation of a female Nebraska cop into a heroic whistleblower in Bosnia in 1999.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Kondracki offers a glimpse of a monstrous world -- made worse because some of the monsters in it were sent there to protect people -- but doesn't suggest any nuanced understanding of it.
Alison Willmore - AV Club
Our heroine plods doggedly through her frequently stymied investigation, and The Whistleblower follows suit, trudging forward one encumbered step at a time.
Sam Adams - Time Out
The suberb Weisz almost single-handedly carries this disjointed movie and its weighty theme, but can't disguise the way The Whistleblower is easily reduced to a noble message.
Caryn James - James on screenS
Powerful and purposeful.
Mark Sells - The Reel Deal
Well-told but troubling story impressively wrapped for audiences who show up in theatres for do-good cinema of a high order.
Doris Toumarkine - Film Journal International
[VIDEO] The illicit sex-trafficking actions of NATO peacekeepers -- both privatized and not -- is the subject of this incendiary film that falls prey to predictable dramatic conventions.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
A grim lamentation for victims of sex trafficking in postwar Bosnia is buried beneath rote filmmaking and cartoonishly rendered villainy.
Bill Weber - Slant Magazine
Stunning expose of a scandal indicating that UN personnel assigned to stop the Bosnian sex trade indulged in the corruption themselves.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Severe and unflinching, The Whistleblower relies on journalistic realism to pack its punch.
Barbara Goslawski - Boxoffice Magazine
The Whistleblower is a depressingly fascinating real-life story, and is a film that will stir emotions and focus attention (once again) on an important subject.
Mark Adams - Screen International
...a preachy, hopelessly heavy-handed piece of work...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
A fantastic exploration of the struggles of women in a world run by men.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com