Saturday, November 21, 2015

Spotlight: Movie Review


Enlightening and moving.

Set in the journalism world of the early 2000s, Spotlight is so engrossed in its subject matter that it takes us there. A team of reporters at the Boston Globe uncovered the truth about priest molestation and the cover-up by the Catholic Church within the Boston area but with the obvious implications for the rest of the world. And the audience is right there with them, interested in the facts, disgusted by the truth. 2015

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Screenplay by: Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schrieber

Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) is the lead of Team Spotlight made up of investigative reporters including Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams). They have to answer to a brand new boss, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), who’s expected to make big changes due to the changing times and cutbacks within the industry. There’s a number of small brilliant elements in writer-director McCarthy’s screenplay. One of them also comes with Schreiber’s performance. He’s painted as the villain, we’re expecting him to be the villain, his team of reporters expects him to be the villain, he knows he’s painted as the villain, but instead of fighting back, he’s just being himself. Eventually you realize he’s just human – he has to make some tough choices, but he’s also going to make the right choices.

That might sum up Spotlight the best – you think it’s a movie (and I don’t just mean a moving picture but a Hollywood movie), a movie filled with larger-than-life characters, that are going to expound on the histrionics of what they’re doing, and something huge is going to happen to pull everything together. But then eventually you realize that it’s not. This is just a story about people. The action is literally people reading church directories (although Ruffalo does liven things up a bit). Spotlight is a drama about journalists doing their job – and doing a damn good job. The importance of the movie comes in the realization of where society would be without them.

Spotlight is not flashy at all, but it also doesn’t take long to feel for these characters and root for their success. Stanley Tucci stars as a lawyer trying to defend 80 victims against the church, Rachel McAdams has a deeply affecting scene where she’s interviewing an abuse victim. Considering it's a film about exposing the truth, it's very fitting that Spotlight doesn't cover anything up undeserved drama or distracting action. Ultimately, it’s an enlightening and moving film.