Synopsis: The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Billy Crudup
Director: Tom McCarthy
Running Length: 128 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (8/10)
Review: More than anything, Spotlight reminds us what true journalism used to look like. In this day and age of up to the minute coverage that often relies on conjecture, I think we as a public have forgotten what it meant to do your homework, cite your sources, and deliver honest news. Sensationalism may have sold more papers but it wasn’t the driving force behind most true-blue journalists.
That’s the overall message I took away from writer/director Tom McCarthy’s slow burn look into the investigative unit of the Boston Globe (the Spotlight team) that first uncovered the molestation scandal within the Boston Archdiocese. Setting into motion a global outcry for justice, the members of the squad took their time in gathering information, pounding the pavement, asking the tough questions, and documenting the horrifying answers.
Drawing justified comparisons to All the President’s Men and filled with several genuinely troubling passages where shocking admissions of guilt are made as off the cuff remakrs, there’s nothing salacious on display. If anything, audiences may start to pull their hair out that Spotlight didn’t come forward with their evidence sooner…but to jump the gun before all the facts had been hammered out would have left them open to doubt when there was little to be had. They put their careers on the line to tell this story the right way and in doing so they likely saved lives.
Singling out any one person doesn’t feel fair because Spotlight is the very definition of an ensemble film. McCarthy has cast his movie well starting with Michael Keaton (RoboCop) as the team lead that ultimately makes the call when they bring their findings forward. Mark Ruffalo (Thanks for Sharing) is the impassioned champion of the down-trodden that wants to push forward even though his journalistic side tells him Keaton’s path is the right one. Rachel McAdams (The Vow) underplays her role so much that the actress basically disappears inside herself while Liev Schrieber (Fading Gigolo) crackles as the editor-in-chief that prods Spotlight to keep going.
The film isn’t flashy or overly sentimental so as a whole it’s not as ingrained in my memory like other films I’ve seen in 2015. It does have several moments, though, that are hauntingly present when anyone brings up the film. It’s easy to see why it’s been heralded as one of the best films of 2015, it’s old-fashioned in construct and forward thinking it its execution.