Starring: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Crudup (Rated MA – 128 min).
Deservedly nominated for six upcoming Academy Awards, this chronicles the true story of the investigative journalist unit within prevalent newspaper The Boston Globe unraveling scandal inside the Catholic church and the cover-up prevailing it. Harsh subject matter exposes betrayal of communities with implications of trust diminished.
The incorruptible reporters on the case are led by blunt editor Michael ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton) who takes on the religious fraternity at the highest level branching out to legal and government sectors all in the name of the truth. Spotlight, continues the tradition of classic journalism themed films such as All the Presidents Men (1976) or Broadcast News (1987) and my personal favourite Citizen Kane (1941). Stop the presses, these journo’s actually use a pen and notepad.
The acting here is impeccable counter balanced with strong issues that simmer to boiling point, no performance is understated or transparent. Keaton is no stranger to the world of news-hounds appearing as another no nonsense editor in The Paper, a 1994 drama laced with much lighter moments than we have here. The strategy of church officials in panic mode backtracking to cover-up long standing incidents reverberates around the world including the Vatican. It’s media against Catholic Archdiocese.
Director Tom McCarthy took years to get his screenplay to the big screen facing an obvious uphill battle raising interest and funding in what was a controversial topic from the very beginning. Mark Ruffalo (Just like Heaven, Zodiac) is as always a standout while one of the few females in the cast, Rachel McAdams, is key to proceedings.
Thankfully this movie works without trying to be obviously shocking. The story takes care of that delivered to perfection in a masterclass of ensemble acting.
Shane A. Bassett
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