I feel that Spotlight is this year’s “important film.” Not only because of the subject matter, but because of how it approaches it’s subject matter overall. The film is about a small group of journalists working for the Boston Globe who were turned on to the allegations of molestation within the Catholic church. It’s a very touchy, difficult, and sensitive subject for a film to tackle. Writer/Director Tom McCarthy, along with his co-writer Josh Singer, take a realistic and hard-hitting approach without alienating any of its viewers. Like the journalists themselves, they present the facts. This isn’t Oliver Stone’s take on the subject, for sure. Keeping much in the vein of All the President’s Men, this is one everyone could and should watch.
McCarthy is also blessed with an extremely talented cast here as well. Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and Billy Crudup round out this impeccable cast. Each one gives a memorable performance and they all get their own chance to shine. Ruffalo has probably the most “showy” part of the bunch, really taking on a completely different persona. Keaton is uniformly great here; the actor has shown us so much range throughout his career, it’s amazing to me that we don’t see more of him. Here’s hoping this film and Birdman give him the boost he deserves. The entire cast here does tremendous work and you can see how the story affects each character as their investigation goes on. Sometimes it’s subtle, other times it’s a journalist finding out that one of the priests implicated in the cover up happens to live across the street from their house.
There’s not much I can say about this one other than it’s really a must-see. The “fun” of the film really comes as they continue to get deeper and deeper into the investigation. My only problem with the film is very minor, but I felt that it took just awhile to really find its pace. Luckily, you spend that time with a masterclass of actors, so it is far from boring or painful. The way McCarthy handles the victim interviews is fantastic. He doesn’t rest solely on the graphic aspect of what happened to them, but really what it did to them emotionally and mentally. There are a few heartbreaking scenes here that are very effective; the anger, disgust, and disappointment you feel as a viewer is well-depicted by the actors on screen.
Overall, this is a fantastic film and will end up in my top three by the end of the year. The performances are fantastic, it is one of the more subtle, yet effectively directed films of the year, and it’s an important subject matter that I don’t think a majority of us knew how big it actually was. I will say that the film’s final moments I can only describe as devastating.
Runtime: 2 hours, 8 minutes
Rating: R for some language including sexual references