Spotlight Review

“Spotlight” tells the true story of the Boston Globe and how they uncovered the global child molestation scandal and cover-up within the Catholic Church, primarily the Archdiocese of Boston.  “Spotlight” focuses on the reporters and journalists who uncovered the horrendous cover up and how they pushed the boundaries of modern journalism.  “Spotlight” is directed by Tom McCarthy with an ensemble cast that includes the talents of Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci.

“Spotlight” was a very unique and interesting story about a situation that only appeared as public knowledge a few years ago.  I still remember when the story broke and the outright disgust that people had against the Catholic Church.  Being a Catholic myself, I found this story appalling and I easily could see why millions of Catholic believers were suddenly shook up.  The fact that thousands and thousands of Priests all over the world were under the microscope for child sex abuse was just mind blowing to me.  Priests are men of faith.  They take a most sacred vow and then break that bond, and not only is that trust in God and faith broken, but they betray the trust and faith of all the Church’s followers.  It made me think of things different after I saw and heard about this story.

As a film, this movie does what it set out to do.  It told a very interesting story and told it in a way that was engaging.  This movie could have been slow.  It could have been boring and uninteresting and I can see why.  Most of the movie revolves around people sitting in a newsroom discussing the story at hand.  You see the characters interviewing victims and families and lawyers and men of the cloth, but the movie was fast paced; it was constantly moving and the fast paced dialogue and constant evolution of the story is why this movie went way beyond what I expected from it.  The dialogue was smart.  It was sophisticated and it fit the characters perfectly.  The film had a believability to it that made it feel fresh and realistic.  The movie slowed down at the right moments but then picked up again when it needed to.  The way this movie was edited and put together is the best I’ve seen this year on a technical standpoint regarding the story and the flow.  The other thing to mention regarding this movie is that this movie just states the facts.  There really is no biased here.  The movie doesn’t try to push you to hate the Church or to all of a sudden stop believing in God because of this event.  Instead this movie just shows you the facts, as unbiased as possible and I applaud the filmmakers for that.

The actors in the movie did an amazing job.  Michael Keaton once again is crushing it with his roles and Mark Ruffalo was spectacular here.  Rachel McAdams was really good in the movie as was Liev Schreiber’s character who was more of a quiet and reserved type.  The only issue with these characters was the development.  The characters felt very static to me.  By the end of the movie, we know that these people are hard working and motivated journalists, but we literally know nothing about them.  I think if there was more development and more emotion put into these characters than the emotional payoff could have ended on a grander scale than the way it does.  Which leads me to the other tiny issue I had with the movie.  The whole film focuses on this small group of journalists who expose the Church, but there isn’t much of a payoff.  This movie fell into the same trap as many others that came before it and others that I saw this year.  The movie ends and feeds us the facts of what happened afterwards.  Instead of showing those effects we are told them through facts and statistics.  I think it would have been more effective of having news footage, or something to the nature of showing the audience the effects that the story had.  It would have made this film more heart wrenching and definitely more emotional.

A lot of critics are saying that this is the best picture this year and that “Spotlight” is going to be a major Oscar contender.  I wouldn’t disagree with them.  The movie is exceptionally directed by Tom McCarthy and the story is fast-paced and extremely engaging.  But there are some absent emotional moments that could have made this film amazing.  I think this movie is a really good one, but Best Picture worthy I’m not sure.  I think there were more movies that I saw this year better than “Spotlight” but in saying that, this was a good movie and is worth the price of admission.

Grade:  A 

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