Metascore
59

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Aug 5, 2011
    25
    A pointless drama that trafficks in cliché.
  2. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Aug 2, 2011
    100
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 21, 2011
    75
    Ends up being a reasonably gripping story of political intrigue, international corruption and one woman's determined fight for justice.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 12, 2011
    75
    A first-rate one-woman-against-the-system drama.
  5. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Sep 1, 2011
    75
    Larysa Kondracki's impressive debut achieves its aim to shine light on an international human rights issue as well as signaling a new director to watch.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Sep 1, 2011
    50
    The film is just a procession of increasingly grim and ugly scenarios and discoveries, capped off by a wildly frustrating ending.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 26, 2011
    63
    It's hard to imagine a better movie about corporate-sanctioned sex trafficking than The Whistleblower. But whether you're ready to confront this true story is a trickier question.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Nilsen
    Aug 25, 2011
    50
    You come away from watching the film with a moral bellyache.
  9. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Aug 18, 2011
    58
    There's a conflict between the film's need for some sort of closure and the messiness of the reality it depicts that leaves The Whistleblower even more unsatisfying than it was meant to be.
  10. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Aug 18, 2011
    63
    The story, inspired by Bolkovac's experiences in Bosnia and her subsequent book account, is dynamite. Alas, Kondracki's direction fizzles. While she elicits a tense and eloquent performance from Weisz, the first-time filmmaker fails to maintain a consistent tone. Her film samples multiple genres.
  11. 75
    There is also a parallel subplot following the fate of two Ukrainian girls caught in the sex-slave ring Kathy targets. This storyline isn't dramatically satisfying, but it does provide context and ensures the victims in this story are not portrayed simply as faces in the dark.
  12. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Aug 11, 2011
    75
    Clumsy and ineffective in its first half hour. But gradually, as her investigation deepens, and we see the true hideousness of what she is uncovering, the movie achieves urgency and clarity of purpose.
  13. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Aug 11, 2011
    25
    A classic example of a film that doesn't trust the strength of its source material - or the intelligence of its audience.
  14. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Aug 11, 2011
    80
    Kondracki relies on sharp, quotidian detail to show how such atrocities become business as usual; she also makes a point of humanizing the victims of trafficking to emphasize the obscenity of the crimes.
  15. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 10, 2011
    88
    For 20 years the news has reported from time to time of crimes alleged by employees of paid defense contractors. 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.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Aug 5, 2011
    75
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 5, 2011
    40
    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. Still, Weisz is strong and smart. And David Strathairn shows up in is-he-good-or-evil? mode.
  18. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Aug 5, 2011
    70
    Credit Kondracki and Kirwan with having endowed their picture with considerable, if blunt, force. Their filmmaking suits the real-life atrocities they're exposing.
  19. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Aug 4, 2011
    50
    Though more brutish than elegant, The Whistleblower does have a certain charged, unvarnished power in its examination of how people can harm those they are enlisted to protect.
  20. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Aug 4, 2011
    60
    For all its high-mindedness, 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.
  21. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Aug 4, 2011
    30
    Ms. Weisz is always a strong presence, but her talents are wasted here on a naive heroine - the fictional Kathy is exceedingly slow to grasp the extent of the corruption - and a narrative style that turns the horror of the prostitutes' plight into harrowing melodrama.
  22. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Aug 4, 2011
    80
    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. In one scene Kathy finally confronts what she's up against and starts to cry. They are tears of rage, and the most powerful I've seen this year.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Aug 4, 2011
    63
    The film swings from melodrama to sermonizing, both blunting the human drama that needs to come to the fore.
  24. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Aug 3, 2011
    50
    The Whistleblower's loose camerawork and cool tones sometimes recall Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," but without his control or unwillingness to strip away his characters' humanity.
  25. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 3, 2011
    75
    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.
  26. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Aug 2, 2011
    60
    Our heroine plods doggedly through her frequently stymied investigation, and The Whistleblower follows suit, trudging forward one encumbered step at a time.
  27. Reviewed by: Rob Nelson
    Aug 2, 2011
    70
    Geographic diffusion aside, Kondracki's fact-based thriller remains somewhat focused on its grim subject, though its principled bid to allure and enlighten the VOD-surfing masses results in a surplus of Hollywood-style eye candy and narrative formula.
  28. Reviewed by: Bill Weber
    Jul 31, 2011
    50
    It reaches a peak of dramatic anguish in star Rachel Weisz's single moment of naked fury, rather than through the tenacity and compassion that define her crusading title character.
  29. Reviewed by: Barbara Goslawski
    Jul 31, 2011
    60
    Severe and unflinching, The Whistleblower relies on journalistic realism to pack its punch.
  30. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jul 31, 2011
    80
    This accomplished debut feature avoids most of the usual pitfalls, channeling its outrage into a tense, focused piece of storytelling with a powerful sense of empathy.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Aug 14, 2011
    9
    Excellent film, despite being both disturbing in subject and unflinching in portrayal. Occasionally clunky expositional dialogue is more thanExcellent film, despite being both disturbing in subject and unflinching in portrayal. Occasionally clunky expositional dialogue is more than made up for with very strong performances by the women cast as trafficked women from Ukraine, and eminently hatable bad guys who see nothing wrong with beating and raping young girls who have been kidnapped and chained into slavery. Very, very affecting stuff, and the tension is quite expertly ratcheted up drip by drip, from start to finish. Weisz continues to shine by breathing a soul into what could have been a two-dimensional role; her no-nonsense cop from Nebraska makes you proud to be an American, even when the American company she works for does everything it can to stop her from exposing a sordid underbelly of sex trafficking. Her heroine manages to be a flawed, flickering flame of hope that refuses to be snuffed out. Occasionally choppy editing and awkward scene transitions only superficially mar great pacing; 'shakeycam' cinematography is unnecessary, but the lighting is emotionally effective and exteriors of Bosnia (actually shot in Romania) bolster the film's look. I've been reading reviews on Metacritic for years; and have never personally reviewed a film; this one just feels like its an inspired work about an important topic that doesn't deserve to be lost in the weeds of the cinema's dog days of summer. Highly recommended. Full Review »
  2. Aug 13, 2011
    9
    Ignore some of the lame critic reviews. This is a very powerful drama, kind of an Erin Brockovich of sex trafficking. At times it's quiteIgnore some of the lame critic reviews. This is a very powerful drama, kind of an Erin Brockovich of sex trafficking. At times it's quite harrowing. The lead character, based on a true story, is a real heroine. It's an incredible indictment of the UN "peace" keeping mission in Bosnia, the corruption of the private security companies and the indifference of the US State Department to do anything about young women being sold as sex slaves. Warning - get to the end and your blood might boil. Full Review »
  3. Aug 12, 2011
    8
    very good film, the storyline was dark throughout therefore I was expecting a ending that shown justice.
    It proved how the justice system if
    very good film, the storyline was dark throughout therefore I was expecting a ending that shown justice.
    It proved how the justice system if very corrupt and that there should be a change.
    Based on a true story which shocked me even more.
    Worth a look for a better understanding of what the justice system can do to innocent people.
    Full Review »