I went into this film not knowing that much about it, other than the plot centres around a bunch of journalists and the Catholic church. And that, in a nutshell, is what the film is about. But the way in which the story is told, combined with the understated yet nuanced cast of characters, ultimately results in fantastically striking film. There were some nice surprises along the way, too…
Spotlight takes place in the early 2000s in Boston, Massachusetts. It follows a group of investigative journalists as they work night and day to try and expose the heinous crimes of the city’s priests – it comes to light that many have been molesting children for years. As you’d imagine, the tone is fairly heavy, and the flow of the narrative reflects this: it cuts straight through the bullshit, and there are very few – if any – silly moments.
There’s nothing fancy going on here. Phones, photocopiers and papers are abound, and almost every scene involves some form of door-knocking or interviewing. But although the film does push plenty of pencils, it’s ultimately the way in which it does so that makes it so compelling. Kudos to Director Tom McCarthy for doing such a fantastic job of matching film’s feel with the weighty reality of the script.
This is where the surprises come in: I had no idea John Slattery (Mad Men) and Micheal Keaton (Birdman) were in this film. Granted, their performances are good and very much welcome, but it’s Mark Ruffalo who steals the spotlight here – pun intended. His portrayal of the ever-alert Mike Rezendes makes for fantastic viewing, even I did end up feeling a little tired after watching his relentless pursuit of the truth.
In a few words…
A sombre telling of one of the biggest scandals in contemporary history, completely deserving of its award season… ahem… spotlight.