SPOTLIGHT (2015) Review
Directed by Tom McCarthy
Powerful, riveting, well-written, well-acted and well-directed. Spotlight is the kind of film that never gets boring as it absorbs you in its controversial story. Though it never gets to use suspenseful scoring or treats its scenes to be thrilling, because it didn’t need to. Its story is enough for the audience to slowly but definitely focus and fall deep into its carefully presented scenarios. It doesn’t go big with its treatment because its story is already is and though the film is on a trail to make a loud bang in the end, it wasn’t treated like a time bomb that will eventually blow every discovery it’s building.
The film is a unique experience, there’s hardly any movies being done not for the sake of drama or theatricality. Tom McCarthy together with Josh Singer wrote the film like an experiment, a case study. The details are impeccable, the characters are vitally introduced and carefully written as the film is based on a true story. And as it tackles about the Catholic Church, which is a delicate topic to discuss in any form of media, it delivered what it needs to without being overly dramatic about it.
In 2001, the Boston Globe hires a new editor, Marty Baron played by Liev Schreiber. After he reads an article about a sexually abusive priest who wasn’t touched by the law, he urges the Spotlight team to investigate on the matter. Spotlight is a small group of journalists who writes investigative articles that take months of research to be published. Walter “Robby” Robinson played by Michael Keaton is the editor of the team composed of Michael Rezendez (Mark Rufallo), Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams), Matt Carroll (James).
The team begins to be shocked by the number of priests involved in sexually abusing children not just boys but also girls. What is more shocking is that these priests are growing and doesn’t given the right punishment for their actions. The film builds its story around these investigations and even though some discoveries are appalling like meeting one of the accused and actually confessing about his actions and not taking it seriously immoral, the film wants to be clear that the investigation must go on.
Rufallo, McAdams, James, Keaton and Schreiber are astounding when they are having conversations about these controversies that you get to be part of the horrific revelations and the actions of the Catholic Church, how these priests are taken care of after being reported for their abuse. If there are faults in the film, it’s barely there. The story telling is flowing like reading a horrendous newspaper article, it’s up to the reader (to the audience) to feel the tension. It’s eye-opening and gripping as the story progresses from being simple research and investigations to being involved into something bigger than their company’s name or even their country.
Spotlight is exciting, full of tension without the need to use grand musical score and is an excellent piece of filmmaking. It diverts its dramas to taking things look and feel authentic and natural, no bold confrontations, just honest and sincere intention in making a true story delivered the best and fair way.
5 OUT OF 5 STARS
“Spotlight” is now showing in Philippine cinemas from Solar Pictures and Solar Entertainment Philippines. Rated R-16 by the MTRCB.