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January 17, 2018
Spotlight (2015) --- "Blind By The Light? Investigative Journalists Give Details."
In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter "Robby" Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
At the moment following the credits for Spotlight (2015) roll, an overwhelming feeling of changing your career takes over and there are few films that have the ability to evoke such a feeling. Rocky (1976) made fathers and brothers go for morning runs and drink raw eggs. While Rudy (1993) made us want to go out and play football. Spotlight does something similar, as possibly the best journalistic drama since Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film All the President's Men (APM) – the story of two young reporters who uncovered a national political scandal about the Nixon administration using campaign funding to finance dirty tricks of political enemies, nicknamed Watergate. Like APM, Spotlight involves a similar team of investigative reports who uncover a massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within one of the oldest and far-reaching institutions in the world: Catholic Church. Their discovery and means for justice not only shakes the entire Catholic Church system but almost makes the Watergate scandal seem tame in comparison.
True to its name and the Boston Global’s own investigative section, Spotlight puts a ‘spotlight’ on a scandal that can never and will never be forgotten. The film is stunning and powerful as it questions an individual’s own sense of humanity. Not only did the priest victimize minors but often the victims were boys because the idea or stereotype of ‘what it means to be a man’ made victims less likely to ‘squeal’ due to shame. And the cover-up by Cardinal Law (Len Cariou) was almost just as bad. Instead of helping to bring justice to the victims, he chose to sweep it under the proverbial carpet by offering the families settlements without out any consolation that the priests were going to be judicially dealt. This is why their actions became so widespread, both nationally and internationally.
Director Tom McCarthy (Up, 2012) was the best person to help this film because his ability to draw in the attention of the audience makes him one of the best filmmakers of 2015. Alongside Josh Singer (Fringe), the two create a gritty and heart-stopping story that isn't afraid to face some hard truths and holds nothing back in its pursuit of the main subject matter. The film needed to expose sensitive and controversial information that revealed the unwavering arrogance of this pious organization and if left alone would continue to destroy lives unapologetically. They’re an articulation of words, authentic characters, and rich important scenes have created a film that makes you hold your breath from beginning to end. Not to mention Spotlight is astonishingly crafted in other areas as well thanks to editor Tom McArdle (The Station Agent), cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi (Silver Linings Playbook), and music composer Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings trilogy).
The cast is universally excellent and all the players, both good and bad, perform top-notch performances. Mark Ruffalo (13 Going on 30) gives the performance of his career as he builds his character’s attributes from the ground up. Michael Keaton (Birdman) is tenacious, hard-hitting, and solid as a rock as Robinson. Rachel McAdams (Aloha, Doctor Strange) made the wise decision to broaden her career by accepting a non-glamorous role during a time when she is mainly receiving scripts for diva parts. Among the supporting cast, there were two noteworthy performances. Liev Schreiber (Salt) as the newly appointed Editor of the Boston Global makes a lasting impression despite the little screen time he's given. While Stanley Tucci (A Little Chaos) adds a sense of class that takes Spotlight to a whole other level with an engrossingly accomplished performance that delivers one of the best monologues in the film. This all-star cast jumps right out at you even before the opening scene, heck just watching the trailer can leave one speechless.Overall, Spotlight (2015) is dramatic and is not afraid to put a ‘spotlight’ on a very real circumstance that has impacted every corner of the globe. The authentic setting is a rarity in the film industry and the performances were on point with a star-studded cast; Keaton, Tucci, Ruffalo, McAdams, and Schreiber. This is without a doubt a must-see; it's dramatic, heart-pounding, necessarily made. By the time the film is over and you are able to catch your breath you’re left with the startling realization that this was a re-enactment of true events with real victims, real perpetrators, and real third party cover-ups. And you once again have to stop and catch your breath because this film has set a new record in terms of confronting realism. I can name only one other film that has been able to do such a thing, Denial (2016) by Mick Jackson.
"We got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we're writing one of them."
- Walter 'Robby' Robinson
Worth Seeing: 10 of 10 stars
Worth Buying: 10 of 10 stars
I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Spotlight (2015).
All The President's Men (1976)
The Big Short (2015)
The Company You Keep (2012)
The Case for Christ (2017)
Defence of the Realm (1986)
Front PAge (1974)
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Headline Hunters (1968)
The Insider (1999)
Kill the Messenger (2014)
Our Fathers (2005)
The Paper (1994)
State of Play (2009)
Woman of the Year (1976)
The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
at 6:00 AM