"It could have been you, it could have been me, it could have been any of us. We gotta nail these scumbags! We gotta show people that nobody can get away with this; Not a priest, or a cardinal or a freaking pope!"
Good investigative journalism is a dying medium in today's world where most media outlets are in a rush to get the exclusive and tell the story first. The same could be said for the film industry, but there are always exceptions because for every dozens of films like Alvin and the Chipmunks, we get a Spotlight. Director, Tom McCarthy, takes his time to tell this brilliant true story through a tight script that slowly begins to uncover the truth behind one of the Catholic Church's greatest cover-ups. It is a reminder of how important good journalism can be in today's world. Hopefully after watching Spotlight more people will begin reading their news from trusty newspapers instead of simply reading headlines from any internet article. It was refreshing to see a film like this portraying what good journalism is all about without taking any shortcuts. As a communication major the subject matter really appealed to me and I felt very emotional during a couple of scenes. McCarthy did a fantastic job at going through the every day ordeal of investigating. If you notice there is barely any reference towards these characters backgrounds or their family life. The entire film focuses entirely on their profession and that is what makes this such a powerful film because it avoids any kind of manipulation into character development. I loved the attention to detail that McCarthy brought to the film and how he decided to exclusively build it all around the investigation.
Bringing the true events of an investigation concerning the child molestation cover-up by the Catholic Church to life in a film might not seem like an interesting subject matter, but McCarthy handles the material with grace. He manages to slowly build the tension by going through the everyday ordeals of serious journalism. Spotlight is the name given to the investigative section of the Globe comprised of four reporters that take their time to research an important issue and build a compelling story. In this case they discover a link between several child molestation incidents with some priests from the Boston area and how the Church has repeatedly covered up for them by simply relocating them to other areas. These four reporters are given the gigantic task of trying to unmask this secretly huge system of defense built by the Catholic Church. The film accomplishes what it sets out to do from the first frame and it delivers one of the best films about investigative journalism in years.
This is a team effort, there are no lead performances in this film. Michael Keaton might be the leader of the Spotlight team, but Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James all deliver strong performances. Ruffalo has received much of the acclaim because he has some of the more emotional moments on screen, and that verbal standoff off with Keaton is powerful, but everyone on screen delivers solid performances. Liev Schreiber is also outstanding as the new editor in chief who arrives at the Globe and comes up with the idea for the story. And Stanley Tucci of course is always mesmerizing any time he's on screen. Spotlight has probably my favorite ensemble cast of the year. I was a huge fan of this film and of course comparisons with All The President's Men are justified.