The story at the centre of Spotlight is one that caused shockwaves around the world. However, the events leading up to the publication of The Boston Globe’s findings were less well known. Tom McCarthy took on the task of telling the story of the group of reporters who took on the Church.
Michael Keaton leads the team of reporters who start to find rumblings of disruption within the Catholic Church. It is a little too close to home for the reporters, some of whom are Catholic themselves. As the first few victims start to come forward, it is clear that this will not be enough. As Liev Schreiber’s character says, they need to prove that these indiscretions come from the very top of the Church. The opposition that the reporters face as they try to prove the allegations they are desperate to publish adds to the tension of the film. This isn’t a story that can be rushed.
The standout performance comes from the Oscar nominated actor, Mark Ruffalo. He evokes a range of emotions and one particular monologue is hard to forget. As the true revelations come to light, each reporter is tasked with challenges to their personal belief systems and watching the people that they love try to react to the news that parts of their belief system is corrupt. In particular, watching Rachel McAdams watch her grandmother come to terms with it produces some incredibly emotional scenes.
When the film won the best picture Oscar, Tom McCarthy said in his speech that he hoped this would send a message to the Vatican. Given that the number of people coming forward with similar abuse stories has increased exponentially. Regardless of how much money this film earns, or how many awards it wins, therein lies its success. This film gives no real judgement towards the religion at the heart of the story but merely tells the story of those who would seek to destroy it based on their desires.
The most powerful scene comes towards the end when the report is out and all is done. There is no celebrating or back patting. At the end of the day, the only thing that can be celebrated in a situation like this is that justice has won. Whether or not Spotlight will stand the test of time as a Best Picture winner remains to be seen. However, based on the social success of the film, that does not matter. The film set out to give a voice to the victims, and it has certainly done that.
4 / 5
Dir: Tom McCarthy
Scr: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery
Prd: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar
DOP: Masanobu Takayanagi
Music: Howard Shore
Run time: 128 minutes
Spotlight is out on DVD and Blu Ray now