3 February 2016 | brendandevere
Catholic Church in the Spotlight.
Relevant, powerful and astonishing. Shocking, criminal and true. These are the only words to describe this film as it has literally put the 'spotlight' on the systematic cover-up by the Catholic Church of mass molestation and sexual assault acts performed by the priests in the Boston archdiocese that were trusted in the communities they represented. These 'men of God' preyed on the weak and vulnerable for years and the most powerful religious sect in the world did nothing but sweep it under the proverbial carpet. 'Spotlight's' dramatic importance has immediately drawn the attention of film lovers who crave a riveting production that dives deep into a very real circumstance that has impacted every corner of the globe.
Tom McCarthy could not have been at the helm of a better film and what he has been able to achieve in terms of wrestling the attentions of the audience is worthy of the highest praise. McCarthy, along with Josh Singer have written a gritty story that pulls no punches and it isn't afraid to get right into the heart of the required subject. For 'Spotlight' to have been received by the critics as well as it has it had to stride unapologetically into this unbelievable and sordid affair. It needed to expose the sensitive and controversial information that some people may find confronting but in the context of this outstanding production, absolutely essential. It destroyed lives and revealed the blatant arrogance of this pious organisation.
The all star cast jumps right out at you even before the opening scenes are shot up onto the screen. Based on true events, 'Spotlight' pushes all the right buttons from the beginning. As the name implies, 'Spotlight' refers to the investigative journalism team who report for the Boston Globe newspaper. They are thorough, relentless and will stop at nothing to expose headline stories that affect the everyday lives of normal American's. When the new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), drops a potentially explosive story in the lap of Spotlight chief, Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), about allegations of sexual abuse involving the Catholic Church, Robinson and his loyal crew go about uncovering one of the greatest criminal cover-ups in human history. The deeper their investigation goes the more sadistic and shocking the outcome becomes. Fingers are pointed, people are accused and the list of clergy involved becomes larger and larger. The whole situation ceases to become a Boston problem and grows to a worldwide exposure. Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo are part of the investigative team as young committed journalists Sacha Pfeiffer and Mike Rezendes respectively. McAdams performance is award worthy and Ruffalo is fully engaged in a role that matches his talents. Michael Keaton has found his niche in Hollywood as a sort after mentor showcasing another strong performance as the tenacious and hard hitting Robinson. The real 'cherry' in the cast is the presence of the magnificent Stanley Tucci as Mitchell Garabedian who represents the victims in the whole saga. Tucci adds the class that takes 'Spotlight' to another level with an engrossingly accomplished performance.
This is the best journalistic drama since 1976's 'All the President's Men'. Tom McCarthy has centred his narrative within the confines of the Boston Globe's newsroom as it should have been. 'Spotlight' doesn't shy away from the true nature of newspaper drama and the audience benefits from such an authentic setting. Top shelf acting from some of the very best young talent sparks the fire that captivates the viewer. Throw in some true icons in Keaton and Tucci and 'Spotlight' has the perfect balance. This film will be classified as the very best in its category and has set a benchmark in terms of confronting realism. Sit back and enjoy.