Spotlight is a film that tells the story of the Catholic Church scandal from the point of The Boston Globe newspaper. They dig for evidence against the crimes hundreds of Catholic priests committed over a period of 30 years or more. It stars, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Brian d'Arcy James. It's directed by Tom McCarthy.
It's well and truly Oscar season and the quality of films is at its absolute peak. Dramas are as captivating as ever and Spotlight is no exception. In a year that has has numerous fantastic dramas such as: Brooklyn, Youth, Steve Jobs, The Revenant and many more, Spotlight shines as a perfect example when all the elements of a motion picture click together.
Director Tom McCarthy, known mainly for his acting and writing gigs, has outdone himself in the directorial chair for this film. Having previously only directed 4 films, including this years big flop, The Cobbler, starring Adam Sandler. This really shows what the man can do if he has a strong cast at his helm. Along with cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi (Warrior, The Grey), the pair share a perfect vision for the film that is edited extremely precisely to make sure every scene is crucial to the plot. You can't mention the last two without crediting Tom McArdle for his fantastic editing job done on this film that would be an Oscar winner if not for the damn-near perfect job done in The Revenant. Spotlight is up for nine Oscars in this years Academy Awards and in short, do I think it can win best film? Yes I do, although I don't think Tom McCarthy will win best director over Alejandro González Iñárritu.
In the film, Spotlight are a 4 person team that work for The Boston Globe that write stories anonymously for a couple of months at a time that have significant influence on the local readership. When new editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) comes into office, he has an immediate effect, in that he wants spotlight to uncover the scandal of the Catholic church that went unnoticed for many years.
The film is at its absolute peak when the team are knee-deep in heavy, quick dialogue that has you clinging to every word as they try to uncover every revelation they find throughout the story. The cast as a collective are sensational. As soon as the movie starts, you feel like you are a fly-on-the-wall intern and the Boston Globe who watches all these employees converse and work exactly how you think they would. They're all real people, with real families and problems outside of work, but the struggle is that they have to keep the spotlight stories a secret until the story comes out. Mark Ruffalo is the strongest of a fantastic bunch in this film, where his energy and intensity is mesmerizing to watch. Anytime he's on screen, I felt myself watching every change in his facial expression throughout. Even though there's no main protagonist in this movie, I felt myself in Ruffalo's shoes. Michael Keaton is fresh off his Oscar win in Birdman last year, with another amazing performance that probably deserved an Oscar nod. It was interesting Seeing Liev Schreiber in a role that keeps him quite reserved and compelling as the new Boston Globe editor and a man who is desperate to release this story as it should be told, rather than having the "Herald butcher it" and Michael Keaton's character said. All of the supporting cast played they're parts exceptionally, most notably the victims of the allegations, like Michael Cyril Creighton and Jimmy LeBlanc
Not only were the actors on-point for this film, but composer Howard Shore, best known for The Lord of The Rings, has wrote a marvelous score for this film that tugs with our heart-strings every time we hear a note on the melodramatic, subtle album. It definitely has my vote for Best Score at the Academy Awards. The setting and production is another factor that grabbed my attention watching Spotlight. The film is set in New York 2001, and at that time I was only 6 years old, so I don't fully remember it. Thankfully that isn't a problem watching Spotlight, as I'm instantly teleported back, to when flip phones were all over the place, the internet is becoming a major force, not as many people are reading newspapers and fashion is considerably different despite only being 15 years ago.
As an Irish-born, catholic raised man, growing up and hearing these allegations was a thing that shook our country. A story that some people just didn't want to believe was true in one of the biggest scandals in our history. Spotlight excellently shines a light on this global problem and for a long time it was ignored, which nowadays seems impossible to think. That's what makes Spotlight an important film, it showcased 4 people that gave the story that the people needed to hear, it shook the world, but it brought justice to those who comitted the terrible crimes. It goes to show, with the right people, an important issue can be surfaced. With a film of that much of an impact, it makes it hard to not be compelled.
Spotlight is a film that shines admirably on the problem that's hard to tackle, but needed to be done. A great ensemble, wonderfully told that leaves you angry with what happened, but satisfied on how it was told.