One of the biggest downsides of the growing tech revolution has been the surprising amount of negligence people have formed for the printed word and as a result people have in many ways, forgotten about the power that journalism and the media truly possesses. Movies like All the Presidents Men and even Zodiac are quite rare these days because people are just not that interested in seeing those sort of stories on the big screen.
So in a time like this, it’s always nice to see a film like Spotlight that goes back to the basics with its refreshingly simple style of storytelling and is able to highlight the true power of investigative journalism.
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 Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents and the reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.
Spotlight is easily one of the most important films to come out this year. It’s written and directed by Tom McCarthy with Josh Singer sharing co-writing duties on the script. McCarthy, who is known for directing small indie films like The Station Agent, Win Win and The Visitor does easily his most accomplished work yet and the result is a fast-paced, informative and riveting film that engrosses throughout.
McCarthy’s compelling script and old school direction really gives the film the grounded feel that a story of this nature needs and with a superb ensemble cast led by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber, John Slattery and Billy Crudrup, the film always manages to stay engaging. The highlight however, is arguably Mark Ruffalo in his passionate and absorbing performance as reporter Mike Rezendes, who acts as the heart and soul of the film.
If there’s any area where Spotlight misses the mark it’s that it fails to truly rise to greatness. There’s nothing particularly profound or shocking revealed here, the focus could have been widened and a lot of that could be because of the fact that the film is pretty straightforward in regards to the story and plot and apart from Mark Ruffalo’s Rezendes, none of the characters feel properly fleshed out either.
Altogether, though Spotlight is a riveting and affecting drama that benefits heavily from the confident writing, direction and solid performances across the board. It’s nothing memorable but still a film, that should be seen for the important subject matter.