Plot – The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core – Spotlight.
Director – Tom McCarthy
Starring – Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci
Genre – Drama | Thriller | Crime
Released – 2016
If you liked: All the Kings Men, Night Hunter, The Post
Taking its name from the investigative research unit at the Boston Globe, Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight sets the Catholic Church firmly in its sites as it delves deep into the decades of covering up of abuse of hundreds of child victims by priests in the city and the team of journalists that finally exposed these heinous crimes to the world.
Based on the true events, the film takes a long and extensive process of showing how the spotlight team discovered and reported the facts, a team that later went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for their efforts in giving a voice to the victims. The first thing to say about this film is just how wonderful the acting is.
Made up of one of the strongest ensembles I’ve seen outside of Marvel or DC, including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci each of which gives excellent and emotion-filled performances, however, the standout for me is Michael Keaton in his nuanced turn as Walter Robinson. He is the rock that the other characters are able to work around his straightforward portrayal and provide the film with the strong emotions that the subject matter deserves.
When it comes to direction, Tom McCarthy masterfully crafts a dialogue-heavy narrative that with very little action produces an engrossing character-driven movie. With multiple shots of Catholic churches and religious iconography to show just instigated, the church is in this city, a constant haunting reminder to the victims, overshadowing their homes, schools and playgrounds.
Now the film does at times feel a little restrained, shying away from lurid details relating to the abuse, which I feel was done to prevent the film from becoming too dramatic, instead of taking a clinical remote approach and although it lets the moviegoer learn about the cases and the evidence as it’s revealed to the journalists.
I feel that they could have gone further and given the weight of what the journalists were trying to do and the pain of having to hold off publication until they had enough, knowing full well that the longer they take the more abuse is likely to occur, making the stakes even more powerful.
It’s no wonder that Spotlight won the Oscar for best picture, it’s a powerful and emotion-filled movie that succeeds at exposing some disgusting things that not only the Catholic church thought they could get away with but also the people that enabled it to happen, including the press and police.