Spotlight

Movies, Drama
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Spotlight

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Tom McCarthy assembles a dream cast for his powerful drama about the journalists who exposed pedophilia in the local Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

"This is Boston," says Stanley Tucci’s seen-it-all victims’ lawyer to a reporter in Spotlight, echoing that famous last line from Chinatown: "Forget it, Jake—it’s Chinatown." But forgetting isn’t an option sometimes. Spotlight calmly and powerfully traces the work of a group of dogged Boston Globe journalists in 2001, who were determined to expose the systematic cover-up of child abuse in the local Catholic Church. It's the story behind the story, and it’s the film equivalent of reading an especially thrilling New Yorker article: ruthlessly detailed, precise and gripping but never brash or overemotional.

Tom McCarthy is an unfussy, low-key director (The Visitor, The Station Agent), and that style suits Spotlight, which is all muted colors, linear storytelling and unobtrusive camerawork. It allows the ensemble cast to shine without showing off: Michael Keaton, fresh from Birdman, makes a second, perhaps even better comeback as Bostonian Robby Robinson who heads up the paper’s investigative team; Liev Schreiber is the paper’s new editor, an outsider and Jewish in a heavily Catholic city; Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are reporters on the front line, knocking on doors and digging out documents. Ruffalo is perhaps the loudest presence: nervy, energetic and prone to the odd outburst in a film otherwise mercifully lacking those moments.

This is All The President’s Men for the ongoing horror of priestly pedophilia. Yet it’s a more subtle, damning film for implicating the media as much as the church, the courts, the legal profession and other Boston institutions in the systematic, wider cultural cover-up it describes. These journalists are good, hard-working and principled, but the film falls short of making them heroes, and crucially doesn’t allow media mechanics to over power the true nightmare of the real-life experiences behind their story. There are just enough testimonies here and encounters with victims to make the human side of the story crystal clear without losing focus on the bigger picture of establishment corruption. It’s that all-too-rare beast: a movie that’s both important and engrossing.

Details

Release details

Rated:
R
Release date:
Friday November 6 2015
Duration:
128 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Tom McCarthy
Screenwriter:
Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Cast:
Rachel McAdams
Liev Schreiber
Mark Ruffalo
Michael Keaton
Stanley Tucci

Users say (1)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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1 person listening

This movie is damn brilliant. From showing the process of investigative journalism captivatingly and accurately and keeping true to the premise of the film. It's the new All The President's Men, but better, and that's totally okay.