'Spotlight' - Movie Review
A; Biopic, Drama
Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci
The shameful abuse of young children by priests ordained by the Catholic church is no longer shrouded behind the iron-clad cassock of structured religion. All thanks to the elite investigative team, 'Spotlight' of the Boston Globe which went well out of it's comfort zones to ensure that the guilty were shamed and eventually brought to book. This film covers that story, basically.
Mark Ruffalo in a still from 'Spotlight'
New broom editor Marty Baron (Live Shreiber) tasks the elite team with delving into decades long claims of abuse against the Catholic church. And it's not an easy search especially since religious restraints are as much a part and parcel of the hurdles encountered, as physical ones. Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) leads the team consisting of three reporters, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matty Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) while John Slattery plays Globe managing deputy editor Ben Bradlee Jr..
The entire churning begins when in an initial meeting with Robby, Baron points to a recent Globe story about the Boston archdiocese's shady handling of various abuse cases- suggesting that it could well be the perfect story for the Spotlight team of a local paper to work on. The journalists begin to uncover a massive network of sexual abuse and willful ignorance perpetrated by the Church within the city of Boston. It's an explosive expose that has to face both political opposition and resistance –an influence leading back to the Church.
Eventually, On January 6, 2002, Boston Globe subscribers were in for a shocker. Their local paper headlines screamed "Church Allowed Abuse by Priest for Years." The longish story, heavy on facts was written by Michael Rezendes and was followed by two more Spotlight stories on the same topic with more to follow. The uproar unleashed from this expose was such that by December 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law, the Archbishop of Boston, apologized for shortcomings and mistakes while stepping down in disgrace. The Spotlight team of course, was a shoo-in for a Pulitzer, a prize which they won in 2003 for their reporting.
Tom McCarthy's film basically tries to put together the entire sequence of events in untarnished fashion without much ambiguity or cosmetic affects glossing out the intentional realism on display. Co-written by McCarthy and Josh Singer, the script is dedicated to bringing to the fore the old-school model of reportage and the drama inherent in the story is mostly underwhelming in representation. This premeditated restraint allows for the narrative to be entirely representative of the journalists' perspective. The sensationalist aspects of the expose are entirely presented in printed format and dialogue with the procedural aspects involving the slow and steady gathering of information, painstaking corroboration of hunches and leads-eventually leading up to the dawn of understanding about the sheer scale of the unforeseen epidemic they've uncovered, taking centre-stage.
The film may tend to the boring at times but if you are someone who pays close attention to the nuances then you are sure to be both gratified and fulfilled. This film in fact highlights how even within the humdrum existence of routine we can achieve so very much. 'Spotlight' sheds light on the varying levels of psychological trauma brought on by abuse without spinning off into a melodramatic ordeal. An ex-priest turned psychiatrist is an important informer and is the one to help reconcile faith with the abuse scandal. All the actors here are first-rate, putting on a well-oiled ensemble that never takes a false step. Faith in religion and it's endurance in spite of the black mark of abuse is as much a part of the subtext as the expose itself. You will need to tough it out if you want to reap it's benefits.
Watch the trailer of 'Spotlight'