ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

Spotlight is the story of how the Boston Globe Spotlight team investigated and uncovered the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in the early 2000's. Set in Boston, the Spotlight team dare to uncover the truth that risks tearing apart the very fabric of their hometown.

Starring Michael Keaton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Rachel McAdams (Doctor Strange) and Leiv Schreiber (Pawn Sacrifice), Spotlight is one of the most talked about films this awards season, but is it really that good?

Happily I can say that Spotlight is indeed one of the most well made films in the current Oscar race, it's tense, well performed and incredibly directed by Tom McCarthy (Win Win). I was impressed from start to finish with McCarthy's direction, the film really gets under your skin and it's immediately captivating. What McCarthy does so well in Spotlight is how information and plot is given to the audience. There's a lot of information that needs to be taken in with this film and under a different director, the story may have become lost, but McCarthy does such a good job at pacing the story and laying it out for us. The screenplay is also fantastic and every conversation feels authentic and important.

There's a lot of searching through books and records and interviews, but somehow it's all compelling. As the story progresses the more devastating it becomes and the more emotionally invested I became with the story. Spotlight easily could have become very melodramatic and over the top but it's all very subdued. Leiv Schreiber plays the new editor at the Boston Globe who believes this case needs to be investigated and reported on, he's not from Boston and he's a non Catholic and therefore was the real push to shake things up and insist this horrifying scandal becomes known to the world.

The performances here are all excellent with Michael Keaton, Leiv Schreiber and Mark Ruffalo being the stand outs. Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger), Billy Crudup (Watchmen) and John Slattery (Ant-Man) are also great in their small roles. The treatment of the characters here is fantastic, the reporters aren't made to look like heroes uncovering this scandal, but actual people who like us feel disgusted and shocked at some of the truths they uncover in this film. The cast powerfully portray the journalists' horror to the fact that this scandal is larger than they initially thought and in a couple of scenes I found myself really connecting with the characters as I was feeling as horrified as they were.

Despite all of it's critical acclaim and awards buzz, Spotlight isn't the Oscar bait film you might think it is, it's a very mature story that at times feels almost like a documentary with how real it feels. I'll be rooting for Spotlight to win many awards come Oscar night as it's truly deserving of all it's acclaim.

Spotlight is disturbing and at times very shocking but it's an incredibly directed and powerful film with an important story that I highly recommend you check out.

What did you think of Spotlight? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97


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