Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The Whistleblower": Ethics 201 in a war zone; will AMC replace its old theaters in Arlington VA?

I used to hold a double-edged attitude toward whistleblowing. If you know your employer is doing something very wrong, as an individual you shouldn’t depend on that employer for your livelihood. That could certainly bear on, for example, working for a tobacco company – in modern times.

But the international thriller “The Whistleblower” is far away from such observations. The film, distributed by the Samuel Goldwyn Company, and directed by Larysa Kondracki, dramatizes the efforts by a former divorced female cop from Nebraska to uncover a trafficking scandal among UN security forces, hired by a private contractor, in Bosnia in the 1990s.

I didn’t see the names of Ashton Kutcher or Demi Moore in the credits as executive producers, but I expected to, since their campaign is “real men don’t buy girls.”   But in Bosnia, male security forces did so, and it was big “profitable” business.

The film opens as a young woman in Kiev prepares to go to Bosnia to work, not knowing what she will get into.  Then it shifts to Nebraska, where police officer Kathryn Bolovac (Rachel Weisz) has even lost custody in a nasty divorce, and takes a job overseas, to earn $100000 in six months.

Pretty soon she is playing Erin Brokovich, even rescuing some of the girls from the Ukraine and Romania, one of whom gets murdered.  She arranges a wire-wearing (with some help from Peter (David Strathairn) to get the evidence to the BBC at the movie climax.

The script contains a lot of material on diplomatic immunity and how crime can hide behind it, and about serious ethical conflicts of interest within the United Nations itself in running the force.
I saw this near the end of a run at the AMC Shirlington, just one afternoon show on weekdays, with a small audience.

Here is the official site


Much of the film was shot in Romania (and much in Toronto, by Canadian and German production companies). The opening scenes in Kiev look real and are most effective.

here is the Wikipedia attribution link for map of Bosnia.

This film bears comparison with Marco Kreuzpaintner's "Trade" (2007), from Roadside Attractions, a large-scale drama about illegal trade from Mexico, a New Jersey family and the desperate effort of a young man to save his sister.  

"AMC Independent" used to be called "AMC Select".  In Arlington, the Shirlington Theater, which looks like it is ready to be razed for real estate condo development, is the main indie house, but the Courthouse sometimes shows some of them (especially recently).  Usually Tysons and Georgetown and Hoffman Center reserve a couple auditoriums for indie films. 

AMC would do well to provide a modern theater in Arlington for indie movies.  Maybe it could join forces with the (Shirlington) Signature Theater next door (a stage) to build a state-of-the-art facility. The older Shirlington and Courthouse properties can't last forever. 

Readers may enjoy this YouTube clip that shows AMC's trademark trailer of an outdoor theater on another planet.  It's really good -- with blue and violet vegetation (likely on a planet with a cooler sun) and a distant modern city sort of looking like it belongs in the Middle East.  Maybe that's what a civilization 30 light years away looks like, complete with Facebook. There's also an AMC Independent trailer and a Walt Disney trailer on the clip. FlashMaster659 made this video, I hope legally, but I won't embed. Link.  AMC should win an Oscar for its extraterrestrial theater trademark video.

Also, AMC hands out a sheet for the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, link here.

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