Director: Tom McCarthy
Screenplay: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer
Starring: Michael Keaton, Liev Shreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Billy Cruddup, Brian d’Arcy James
In 2001, newpaper editor Marty Baron (Schreiber) joins The Boston Globe paper and meets the Spotlight team (Keaton, Ruffalo, McAdams and James), a four person team of reporters who write in-depth investigative articles after months of research. Baron reads a short column about how the Archbishop of Boston knew that a priest was sexually abusing children and did nothing to stop him. Baron urges the Spotlight team to look into the story, and in doing so, they discover the widespread abuse of children by priests all over Massachusetts and the cover up of is by the Boston Archdiocese. After speaking to lawyer Mitchell Garabedian (Cruddup) who helped get settlements for a number of victims without taking the matter to court, the reporters discover there are publicly available documents that confirm the Archbishop of Boston was aware of the abuse. They begin speaking to some of the abuse survivors and their story begins to gather speed as they become increasingly shocked at the history of abuse within the church.
Why it should win Best Picture
Spotlight is a film that is so terrifically focused on the procedural aspect of the story that it’s a great reminder of how fantastic investigative reporting in newspapers was (and probably still is, but everything is so online now I honestly can’t tell you the last time I read a paper. Sad, I know). The film is so straightforward and simple in its storytelling; there’s no need to fill the quiet spaces with dialogue, no over the top, angry confrontations between the Spotlight crew and the church. It’s a film that’s purely about the need to tell the truth about an horrific, ongoing event and it unfolds beautifully. The cast are so perfectly believable in their roles as reporters and editors, gently probing the abuse victims for their story, then energetically and emphatically pushing back against Garbedian to gain access to the records that prove the church’s knowledge of the abuse. Ruffalo as Spotlight reporter Michael Rezendes is the shining star of the piece (thought Tucci comes pretty close), beautifully and skillfully portraying both the mundane door knocking and phone calling life of a reporter alongside the hunger to reveal the truth about the corrupt nature of the church’s management of the abuse. His showstopping, outraged outburst at having to delay the story because of the events of September 11 is truly magnificent, verbalising everything the audience feels as they delve deeper and deeper into the story along with the reporters with utter revulsion and disbelief. It’s a methodical, superbly written and acted film, with a riveting story that leaves the audience numb with shock and horror at the events and cover-up.
Why it shouldn’t win Best Picture
The only reason this won’t win (not shouldn’t, but won’t) is because The Revenant might take the statue. Spotlight is my favourite of the eight nominated films,and I say that having not seen Brooklyn yet, but I have read the book and found it good, but problematic and I’ve heard the film is the same. So I honestly can’t say anything bad about this film. It’s fantastic, and if people aren’t voting for it then they either haven’t seen it, or they want The Revenant to win for Leo.
Have you seen Spotlight? I’d love to know what you think!Share this post: