The big difference is this: “Taken” has a James Bond super spy daddy (Liam Neeson) shooting and slugging his way to save the day and his daughter; “Whistleblower’s” contacted cop, Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz), is impotent to halt the reality of teen sex slavery in Bosnia. While “Taken” is a dramatically uplifting fantasy, “Whistleblower” is a downer, and deservedly so, since it is a true story.
Based on Ms. Bolkovac’s book (where the girl slaves are younger than the film’s 15-year-olds),
“Whistleblower” charts Kathryn’s life as a divorced
Nebraskan policewoman, who loses custody of her teenage daughter and takes a big-bucks job with a UN-contacted security firm to monitor the post-civil war situation in Bosnia.
What should be a piece of cake turns out to be quite sticky and icky when she encounters beaten and abused teenage girl Raya (Roxana Condurache), a refugee from a backwoods brothel-bar, where the “waitresses” are forced and coerced to “perform” for the male patrons, many of whom are Kathryn’s colleagues from the security firm.
A case that starts as basic police work unravels into a complex spider web of corruption reaching the highest levels of law enforcement, government contracting and even the United Nations itself. Apparently, the “whores of war” issue is business as usual to most members of the male-dominated society.
But it does not sit well with Bolkovac or filmmaker Larysa Kondracki, who wish to reveal the sordid side of human sex trafficking in all its ugliness. At one point, we are witness to the excruciatingly brutal torture-rape of Raya, after she is promised protection from the powerless policewoman. Contrary to the escalating efficacy of Neeson’s spy-daddy, Weisz’s security cop ends up a slobbering mass of ineffectualness when her brothel-bar bust is aborted.
Bolkovac’s final recourse is to “blow the whistle” to the BBC, write a book and get this movie made.
Will it stop the highly lucrative sex trafficking business?
We’d like to think so. It’s also nice to believe that “James Bond” will save the day.
What we’re left with is the sad truth so graphically depicted in “The Whistleblower.”