The Whistleblower | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Whistleblower

A docudrama exposes a cover-up of sex-trafficking in Bosnia

In the late 1990s, Nebraska cop Kathyrn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz) takes a job as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. But she quickly learns that this shattered country -- with its authority and justice systems scattered across several local and international entities -- has created a vacuum for a particularly nasty criminal enterprise: the importation of young women from the former Soviet Bloc countries, who are then sold into sexual slavery. Larysa Kondracki's drama is based on real events, and recounts not just the horrors of the slave trade, but the personal and professional retribution Bolkovac encountered when she sought to uncover the truth. Not surprisingly, the sex-trafficking was benefitting many well-placed individuals, including Americans tasked with overseeing police and justice systems. It's tough subject matter that Kondracki covers nearly exclusively through female characters: Weisz's investigative cop, the betrayed teen-agers tricked into prostitution, a distraught Ukrainian mother and a sympathetic U.N. official (portrayed by Vanessa Redgrave). It's a bit wobbly in spots -- this is Kondracki's debut feature -- but Weisz and the subject matter make this worth seeing. In English, and various languages, with subtitles. Starts Fri., Sept. 16. Manor