Release Date : Nov 06,2015
Spotlight (aka) Spot Light review

Review by :
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Production: Anonymous Content, First Look Media, Participant Media, Rocklin/Faust
Cast: John Slattery, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci
Direction: Tom McCarthy
Screenplay: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Story: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Music: Howard Shore
Background score: Howard Shore
Cinematography: Masanobu Takayanagi

Spotlight the film is just as dramatic and captivating as was the life-changing journalism of the Boston Globe in 2002. Director Thomas McCarthy, along with co-writer Josh Singer, has woven the true story of a Pulitzer Prize winning team of reporters into an even more gripping narrative, anchored by formidable performances by Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, playing reporters Rezendes and Robinson, respectively.

The film follows the entire Spotlight team as well as the Globe’s new editor at the time who pushes for a deeper dive of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by a Catholic priest in the area. As the team begins to uncover more and more suspects and even more victims they slowly unearth a massive cover-up conspiracy that has been orchestrated by the church, with the help of twisted lawyers and other powerful business leaders and politicians in Boston who “require the support of the Catholic Church”, which is the leading religious following in the state of Massachusetts. At at time when newspaper sales are beginning to dwindle in general, and right around when 9/11 holds the public’s attention in entirety, this team of 5-6 journalists lay their careers and personal safety on the line to tell the story no one noticed before, or at least the one no one wanted to tell.

Unlike many other dramas based on real-life events, no part of Spotlight feels unnecessarily embellished or exaggerated. The film is refreshingly direct-to-the-point and focuses on the shocking truth alone, without any additional romantic arcs or irrelevant character-struggles. The film’s honest delivery honors the reporters on whom the story is based by providing a detailed, in-depth look into their dedication and perseverance. Over the course of a year the Globe published about 600 stories on the scandal thanks to the over 300 calls they received from the public after the first story broke, all claiming that they thought “they were the only ones” who were victimized. In the words of the real life Walter Robinson, who spoke about the film after its screening at TIFF 2015: “this movie is about journalism... but the story is really about the victims”.

Playing strong and almost silent team leader Robby, Michael Keaton continues his winning streak since Birdman with an excellent performance; he is calming to watch on screen, playing off his co-stars Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Rachel McAdams very well. Ruffalo gives the second most impactful performance as Rezendes, the slightly hot-headed but keenly focused and talented writer entrusted with the brunt of the work. Well known character actor Stanley Tucci is also a true highlight of the film, playing a tireless legal advocate for those victims willing to come forward about their abuse.

The stellar cast and their performances anchor what is overall a fantastically written script. With crisp dialogues and a healthy dose of background information expertly included along the way ensures that all audiences can keep up, despite whether or not they were familiar with the original news coverage years ago. The truth discussed in the movie is harrowing to say the least, and that is reinforced with a listing of all the world cities in which sex scandals involving Catholic priests have been uncovered since 2002 at the end. Cinematography by Masanobu Takayanagi (of Silver Linings Playbook fame) is also outstanding; his work brings depth and eerie light to a tense basement newspaper office and the shady areas of Boston’s churches and courtrooms.

The film is a must-see drama and has a very good chance at many nominations for writing and acting during Hollywood’s upcoming awards season, deservedly so. As revolting and dishonest as the subject matter of what was uncovered by the true Spotlight team was, the film itself is a beautiful revelation in fascinating and honest storytelling.

Verdict: Spotlight is an expertly written and acted drama on the real-life scandals of the catholic church that caught the attention of the world in the early 2000s.
( 3.0 / 5.0 )