"Spotlight" is based off of the true story of a group of Boston Globe reporters who are assigned to report on a massive cover-up of sexually abused children by Catholic priests. This movie chronicles everything they had to deal with in a case like this such as dead ends, corrupt officials, and various twists and turns in the trail. Starring in this movie is Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and John Slattery.
Apart from the cast and basic premise, I knew virtually nothing about this movie before seeing it. The thing that really interested me was all of the acclaim and awards nominations it was receiving, so I saw it and I have to say that this is further evidence that the less you know of a movie without any huge anticipation, the better.
For starters, this movie is well acted by everyone. I'll admit that I couldn't really tell who the movie was reaching for in terms of the main character, but for me it seemed to be about Mark Ruffalo, though Michael Keaton gets a fairly equal amount of attention. Both of Ruffalo and Keaton give fairly similar performances in that what makes them great is the subdued nature they give off. They're both different characters for sure, but the acting involved deals with settling into a Boston type accent and making it sound natural, as well as making the performances subtle in every scene. Both Keaton and Ruffalo succeed in that and they end up giving great performances without trying too hard to bring attention to their acting. Other actors such as Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci also disappear seamlessly into their roles, basically to a point where I probably wouldn't have even guessed it was them if I didn't know ahead of time they were in this film. Regardless if how you feel about this movie, I can't see anyone accusing it of having a single bad performance.
Another big positive to this movie is how its able to keep you interested in the story despite it being a fully dialogue driven film. I've seen quite a few movies recently that have done that, and "Spotlight" joins the ranks of genuinely interesting and engaging dialogue pieces. This isn't a movie that's for everyone given the slow pace that it gives off, but it's almost a rarity nowadays for a movie to be so well written that it can keep you intrigued most of the way through.
I also really liked that in telling this true story of very disturbing events, this movie doesn't shy away from the details of certain scenarios. There are quite a few scenes where you learn about everything that went on behind closed doors between the priests and their victims and it's undeniably tough to watch, but I also found it completely necessary in order to show the massive scale of such a graphic case. Not only that, but in explaining the specifics of the cover-up, this movie doesn't take sides. It's not beating you over the head with how all priests are scumbag rapists while the reporters are flawless heroes, nor does it try to justify any of the messed up stuff going on, it's just a realistic look at a case where bad stuff happens and there's a grey area that separates each character from being fully good or fully bad. It's refreshing to see a movie just tell the story without making it a one-sided thing.
If there's one thing that needs to be addressed with this movie, it's that this isn't necessarily a movie everyone will fully be invested. I can understand someone thinking that this movie is too slow for them. As a matter of fact, I won't deny a couple of instances in this movie with slow pacing. I take replay value into consideration when reviewing movies and although this movie doesn't have that for me personally, I'm glad that I was able to sit down and learn about this story through means of well done filmmaking.
"Spotlight" is a well acted film that's well written and it does a solid job of telling its story in a completely necessary and unbiased manner. Like I said, it doesn't have the replay value that I want, though; I can't ever see myself seeing this movie again or just casually popping it into my Blu-ray player when I'm bored, but for everything that it did, it was done very well from a filmmaking perspective and I'm glad that I was able to watch it.
Rating: Full Price!