Spotlight

"Extraordinary"

Spotlight Review


This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on a true story, this is a journalistic procedural following a team of newspaper writers who take on a corrupt system. The outcome is well-known (they won a Pulitzer Prize and launched the global investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests), but the film is still utterly riveting, beautifully written and played to perfection.

In 2001, the Boston Globe's investigative Spotlight team is working to report the biggest stories in the city. So newly arrived senior editor Marty (Liev Schreiber) asks them to find out if there's truth to rumours that the local Catholic Archdiocese is covering up abuse. But he's unaware that the church controls the city, and the Spotlight writers (Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d'Arcy James) quickly encounter heavy resistance from the establishment. As they persistently dig deeper, they realise that the story is exponentially bigger than anyone thought it was. Two lawyers (Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup) prove to be crucial in this process, as the team works to prove that the Cardinal (Len Cariou) has been covering up abuse for decades.

Cleverly, writer Josh Singer and writer-director Tom McCarthy never play this story for its salacious details. Instead, they focus on the people involved, which gives the film a strong sense of what's at stake here and the urgency of getting the story exactly right. It's a rare movie that can maintain this balance, gripping the audience and building suspense without ever tipping over into sensationalism. And the filmmakers bring out some strong emotional resonance in sensitive conversations between the journalists and the victims. All of this is expertly played by actors who stir in personal details without letting their characters' side-stories interfere with the larger narrative. They also resist the temptation to overplay the material, letting the facts of the case provide every gut-punch.

As the story develops, Ruffalo emerges as the heart of the ensemble, a man who sees all too vividly the implications of these events on his own life. Revealing this through his eyes, the script fills in the details slowly but surely, highlighting the way a serious journalist painstakingly seeks witnesses and verifiable facts to tell the real story against the odds. This certainly isn't a film about sexuality or psychological damage; it's about the need to stop organised criminality and bring the truth into the light, so that there's a chance for healing. And more than just a retelling of a 15-year-old story, this is a film about how imperative it is that someone has the nerve to speak out for victims and confront entrenched evil.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Spotlight trailer:



Spotlight

Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Run time: 128 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 25th November 2015

Box Office USA: $27.1M

Distributed by: Open Road Films

Production compaines: Participant Media, Open Road Films, Anonymous Content, Rocklin / Faust, Entertainment One Features

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 171 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 8.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Blye Pagon Faust, , Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Starring: as Michael Rezendes, as Walter 'Robby' Robinson, as Sacha Pfeiffer, as Marty Baron, as Ben Bradlee Jr., as Mitchell Garabedian, as Matt Carroll, as Eric MacLeish, as Jim Sullivan, as Cardinal Law, as Peter Conley, Elena Wohl as Barbara, Maureen Keiller as Eileen McNamara, Neal Huff as Phil Saviano, Michael Cyril Creighton as Joe Crowley, as Richard Sipe (telephone voice, uncredited), Gary Galone as Jack Dunn

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