Reviews

‘Spotlight’ Review: Incredible Cast & Honest Journalism

 

When the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

‘Spotlight’ is the kind of film where as you follow its story you begin to realize how much more this film offers. On its surface is the incredible cast lead by Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo as investigators for Spotlight. They’re tasked with a controversial topic regarding child sexual abuse and Roman Catholic priests. What’s special about this film is not what they were uncovering, but how they were doing so. This is a story-driven film that starts off with 100 pieces of a puzzle scattered everywhere. However, once these pieces start coming together is when you’re invested and eager to follow along.

The procedures of investigative journalism that our characters executed was a highlight, but it wasn’t until someone compared it to today’s journalism where I truly appreciated it. The way Spotlight continually refused to publish a unfinished piece just to beat out other outlets is a reflection of what’s lacking in today’s journalism. They focused on getting viable sources to support each of their stories. Its old fashion but very interesting to watch.

Performance wise its nothing but positives across the board. Michael Keaton brings a veteran presence as the head of Spotlight. Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and Brian d’Arcy James are all consistently able to portray their characters well without outshining the subject at hand. However, its Mark Ruffalo who is the standout performer, and gets a small moment to really show just how incredible of a dramatic actor he is.

The standout moments for Spotlight rest on its film making. The script is great, and filled with excellent dialogue and emotional character moments. I loved director Thomas McCarthy’s approach to not holding back on the graphic language regarding the sexual abuse crimes and keeping the focus on the story. There’s a great moment of juxtaposition involving some holiday songs and what’s onscreen that I found so disturbing. My only negative is in regards to a couple problems with the pacing. There were two or three moments where I felt they spent too much time on a piece of the puzzle. Other than that, its a really incredible film.

I can’t recommend ‘Spotlight’ enough and neither can any of its trailers. Its a must see film with an excellent cast and emphasis on honest journalism. It’ll likely be in the Top 10 of your films for the year, its that good.

‘Spotlight’ gets a 9.5 out of 10.

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