Since I’ve started this site, I’ve written a lot of reviews. In case you missed some of my earlier ones, I would like to share an older review of “Spotlight” which originally appeared here.
In 2001, editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.
This is a big one since its been getting a lot of awards buzz so I really wanted to see it because of that. After watching it, I could understand what they were saying. So this film is about in 2001, a team of journalists from The Boston Globe, called Spotlight, who were tasked to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against a priest who was accused of allegedly molesting 80 boys. The Spotlight team, led by Walter Robinson (Keaton) alongside reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll (James), and Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) tried to uncover evidence of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. They did this by interviewing the alleged victims and by trying to unseal sensitive documents which may provide evidence of the Church’s wrongdoings. So this film is pretty much just the Spotlight team doing their investigation with a few moments with each of the characters to break things up a little. I thought the film was a glamorization of investigative journalism as it showed their investigation from beginning to end and all the little moments in between including all of the roadblocks they had to encounter along the way. It was interesting to see how the investigation came to be with all the investigating being done, the victim interviews, the backroom conversations, etc. This films feels like similar films such as All The President’s Men (or so I’m told) so those familiar with that will be at home. In a more technology-centered world, it was nice to see more of an old-school approach to things. The film also acts a social commentary on the obliviousness of people in that this problem could have been addressed a long time ago but money is why they never did until then. All of this was definitely fun to watch. I also liked all the emotion contained within the story as all the characters investigating these crimes learning about them in the first place and being genuinely disgusted with them. I thought the cinematography in the film was well done by how they used the city of Boston as a character in the story with the use of landmarks and various locales in scenes. The score was also good. But what held this all together was the excellent script. I thought the plot flowed nicely from scene to scene and conversations and dialogue flowed and felt real and natural. What made this fun to watch were all the performances by all of the actors in this film. From the names I mentioned to others like Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), and Eric Macleish (Billy Crudup), I found everyone to be amazing. I would have to say that the best of them have to be Ruffalo and Keaton. Sure to be Academy Award nominees, Ruffalo’s Rezendes’ passion and intensity was infectious and Keaton’s Robinson sensitivity and dedication was as well. Overall, this is a great, smart film led by an extraordinary cast filled with intense drama.