Greetings again from the darkness. Emotional exhaustion swept over me as this film came to an end. Based on the true experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac, we see what a true hero is. She absolutely refused to turn away from the despicable actions of her co-workers and government officials.
Rachel Weisz delivers what is far and away her best performance yet. She captures the emotional complexity and strength that Ms. Bolkovac displayed. Some have stated she was conflicted, but I never saw that. I saw the character of a woman who had a clear understanding of right and wrong … and would settle for nothing less than “right”.
Kathryn, a Nebraska cop, accepts a UN peacekeeping job in post-war Bosnia. Her spirit and strength is recognized, and rewarded with promotion, by Madeleine Rees (Vanessa Redgrave) who is director of the Human Rights Commission. It is in this job where she slowly uncovers the corruption and cover-up of sex trafficking of underage girls. Even more sickening is that this most profitable business is being run by the peacekeepers and law officers being paid to protect these citizens.
It turns out that though Ms. Bolkovac was fighting for these human rights of these girls, she was also working diligently to expose the corruption of the private contractors hired to supply personnel in all aspects of recovery in countries such as Bosnia and Serbia. In her situation, the private contractor was DynCorp and she had no problem pulling back the curtain on the lack of training and control exhibited by this and other contractors.
Combine that with the frustrations in dealing with bureaucrats such as Monica Bellucci‘s character, it often feels as if Ms. Bolkovac is fighting a one woman crusade (with a little help from David Strathairn‘s character). When red tape (such as no passport for the abused girls) and diplomatic immunity become major players in fending off her efforts, we get the wonderful line “immunity not impunity”. That explains a great deal.
The film is directed by first timer Larysa Kondracki. Setting and tone are well captured, but the editing of many scenes left me somewhat distracted, but not to the point of annoyance. There is so much tension and exposure to despicable actions in this film that I found it difficult to relax afterward. The strength and courage of this woman will restore your faith in humanity and remind us we should never turn away from doing the right thing.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you agree the “true story” element elevates the tension in a thriller OR you prefer your heroes to be real people rather than the comic book type
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you have a weak constitution for the horrific actions of a few OR you are looking for light-hearted fare
watch the trailer: