<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Tom McCarthy. Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup, Len Cariou, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle
Running Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
When the subject matter of a film is so intense there’s very little need for filmmakers to over dramatise or have more than just good performances. This is what Spotlight is about.
So what’s the subject matter? It’s about a group of investigative journalists at the Boston Globe in the early 2000s looking into a story about priests molesting young children over a period of decades with the indirect sanction and cover up of the church: a big story at the time that won the newspaper – and the special team called Spotlight – a Pulitzer Prize.
Of course nowadays we all know about wily priests all over the world who prey on little children in the cloak of religion that they use as cover for their foul deeds. But back then it was taboo for people to talk about it and ‘good Catholics’ would usually let it pass at the behest of the church. But some lawyers and reporters knew what was going on, though didn’t realise the scope of the plague that infested the church all the way up to the archdiocese. But soon The Boston Globe gets a new Editor in Chief called Martin Baron (Liev Schreiber) who orders the paper’s investigative team of Spotlight, headed by Robby (Michael Keaton), to look into the matter further. What they uncover is startling and revelatory to the point of shaking the system and bringing about real change. This was true journalism.
What’s great about Spotlight is that there’s a very simple narrative with interweaving sub plots about the church, the priests they interview and the victims’ stories that they uncover. It’s about the team’s feelings about the case that grow more passionate over time and even personal. There’s no over the top acting or need for any CGI or plot ‘twists’. The material is sufficiently riveting and well handled by the director. All the actors, especially Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, are subtly brilliant. Sure, it can be a bit dull if you’re someone who’s into action and superheroes flying around, but for someone looking for a good story, Spotlight is certainly a good watch.