I hadn't heard of 'Spotlight' until a few months ago. It popped up out of no where for me and honestly it didn't intrigue me from first glance. Fast forward a month and the Oscar buzz surrounding the film and I started to get interested. An interesting premise and solid performances were praised, and so after being released last week I decided to jump into 'Spotlight' and see how it went.
'Spotlight' tells the story of The Boston Globe, a newspaper in Boston. The story then introduces the Spotlight group which digs deep into stories that can take up to a year to publish due to extensive research. They then get a tip from Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) to research a story on a priest who molested a child and the Cardinal knew about the incident. What entails is a slow cooking, poignant story that opens everybody's eyes.
The singular best thing about this movie is the pacing and the way the story unfolds. It's so brilliant. The way these characters constantly dig and uncover information is so interesting that it truly encapsulates the idea that a movie does not need any action or special effects to be interesting. This whole movie is dialogue. And it does not matter because it grips you and never lets go. The film also does not regard the Spotlight team as heroes or pits one as the number one investigator, everyone is equal and they are doing this because they are passionate about their work and the lives they could help. This is in credit to the script and performances. I also extremely loved how while the film deals with child molestation, you are never shown anything to do with it such as flashbacks. Everything is through discussion and it's just as powerful and confronting. This was a strong decision from director Tom McCarthy.
It's hard to point out standouts just as everyone in the film set the bar extremely high. But the singular standout is Mark Ruffalo. He is fantastic as Mike Rezendes. He perfectly portrays the emotion that follows in this line of work especially in the scene in which they recieve substantial documents. The film parallels the emotions you feel as you are apart of the journey these journalists have undertaken and Ruffalo does this in the most humane way possible. But credit has to go to the rest of the case also, there is not one bad performance in this movie. Smaller roles from Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup were also great and a blast every time they were on screen.
The tone of the film can change quite rapidly in 'Spotlight'. The film does it with absolute ease and it works 100% the time quite surprisingly. This is accompanied by an extremely brooding soundtrack from Howard Shore which caught me off guard as it did not sound like the film I was expecting but it matched perfectly. The little jokes in the film also help break up the mostly serious sections and themes of pedophilia and discussions about what happened may put off some audiences as its very confronting at times but the film handles it with class and dignity.
'Spotlight' is a film that I will put money down to win the Best Picture Oscar. The direction is classy and clean, the performances are all amazing and the story cannot be touched, its superb. It's a fantastic movie and one that will have you leaving the theater wanting to research and just dive into the world of it.
. Direction is sleek and goes hand in hand with everything.
. The whole cast. Mark Ruffalo stands out though.
. The tonal shifts of the movie.
. Script is excellent.
. The start was a tiny bit slow to get going.