This could very well be one of the biggest (in both size and star power) all-ace ensembles of 2015 and, with the direction, narrative and talent involved, Spotlight did not fail our expectations.
Spotlight, which premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, is a thriller-like, human interest drama that highlights the true events of the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of a special team of reporters from The Boston Globe who exposed the unbridled sex abuse allegations against the Catholic Church in the year 2002. It stars a slew of noteworthy players: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Billy Crudup and Brian D’Arcy James. This is one of two movies about investigative journalism that surfaced the film fest slate, the other one being Truth, which stars Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.
From the get-go, the movie sets us viewers up for what it is all about: a team of journalists unraveling a rather touchy beat, one which also requires them to be careful since they’re up against the Catholic Church. We see the office environment, right away it makes us feel confined and immersed in what being an investigative reporter truly feels like; they will stop at nothing to find out the truth. This is where Director Tom McCarthy’s achievement in storytelling shines bright: he didn’t want this to be melodramatic though the story sometimes allows a window of opportunity, he set his mind that this film will be informative, morally engaging, and something that sticks to the facts revolving the nasty reports on priests committing pedophilia covered-up due to obvious reasons.
Spotlight‘s precision in realism is a remarkable feat. It feels like we can also have a say as viewers in directing these characters in what to do next and how to deal with the situations they’re given.
We surely can’t leave off the performances by the cast: Michael Keaton’s impressive turn as Robinson (whose only character’s regret is not covering the story earlier when he had the opportunity) is very commendable. The Spotlight team comprises of individuals played by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian D’Arcy James. These three couldn’t be more perfect for the roles. Honorable mentions are for Liev Schreiber, who plays the stern, polite and often intimidating Boston Globe editor (this is Schreiber unlike any role you’ve ever seen him in before), Stanley Tucci as Mitchell Garabedian and Billy Crudup as Eric Macleish. The acting is subdued but powerful, direct but often biting.
One prime thing that also stood out in the film was the snappy dialogue and screenplay. A perfect example is when as team members meet their interviewees and they engage in their back-and-forth question and answers: the conversations they have are something we would all be interested in as our tasks now is to connect the dots while also being deeply emotionally moved and angered as the truth slowly presents itself. Spotlight is a must-see, it is an important drama that will make you squirm in disgust at times, but ultimately will get you rewarded with its satisfying end.