First Hit: This was a dark powerful film which pulls few punches.
This film is based on a true story of Kathryn Bolkovac (played by Rachel Weisz) who was a Nebraska police woman looking for a way to make more money so that she could move to be closer to her children who lived in Florida with her ex-husband.
To do this she takes a job with a company that's contracted with the UN to monitor the governmental transition of Bosnia from the racially and religious wars that raked the country in the mid 1990’s. Bolkovac soon discovers that the forces which were there to keep the peace and provide some law and order were uniformly trafficking in young girls for prostitution from other eastern bloc countries.
Not only were the UN forces using and raping these young women, they were also making money from them through the trafficking. Bolkovac in pain because she lost her own daughter in a custody battle, decides this is where she will make her stand. She goes all out to help these girls.
The scenes of the bars, where the girls are held and auctioned off, were ghastly and the treatment by their keepers was horrible and disgraceful to humanity. That the UN, a powerful body which is relied upon by other countries did no due diligence on the contractors they hired was shameful. It makes me wonder today about the contractors being hired by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This film is powerful and not an easy one to sit through. It’s story, direction and strong characters create a compelling and difficult story to digest.
Weisz is powerful and up to the requirements of the role. The intensity of her character as portrayed through both her bodily and energetic language on the screen is amazing. Vanessa Redgrave as Madeleine Rees, a diplomatic official of the US was strong. And all the girls including Roxana Condurache as Raya, Paula Schramm as Luba deserve honor for creating a horrific and realistic set of scenes which drove the point home. In fact 4 people sitting in front of me left the theater during some of their scenes. Larysa Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan wrote this powerful script from film consultant Kathryn Bolkovac. While Kondracki also directed this cast in a difficult but outstanding story.
Overall: This film is difficult to watch at times, but the message is powerful.