I’m going to call Spotlight (2015) this year’s Zero Dark Thirty (2012). ZDT is in no way a bad movie, actually quite the contrary. It does, however give you this slow burn effect that lets you know that time has passed and not much has happened; but instead of boring you it builds up more anticipation for what is to come.
The movie takes place in the early 2000s and follows the true story of the Boston Globe and their Spotlight team taking a year to uncover a decades-long conspiracy involving the Catholic Church covering up acts involving priests molesting children. Soon enough Spotlight discovers not only the Catholic Church’s involvement – but the involvement of Boston’s legal and government establishments to cover up this scandal.
As I said, the movie feels like a slow burn and can come off as dragging it’s feet; but like Zero Dark Thirty, the slow development put me in the shoes of the Spotlight journalists and I felt their aggravation when it felt like the story was going nowhere or had finally reached a dead end. I can imagine how frustrating it must be when you know an attorney or another figure of authority has access to certain evidence or knows how to go across finding it but legally they cannot do anything about it. This is probably the reason I would never want to be a journalist – I don’t have the patience to wait on people or information.
The film has it’s powerful moments when survivors of priests molesting them as children go into detail of how they came to cross paths with their priests in such a horrific way and how they felt like they lost religion after events transpired and it led them down darker paths whether it be drugs abuse or attempted suicides. What makes it more powerful is not seeing the acts as they occur – that never happens in the movie, there are no flashbacks or scenes of molestation. It’s the power of these survivors’ words that make you tremble that this was going on not only in Boston, but around the world and for far too long. Words so powerful it is as if the survivors’ are journalists themselves.
I enjoyed everyone who starred in this movie. Rachel McAdams and Michael Keaton are great on screen and it’s nice to see a post-Mad Men John Slattery getting more opportunities. I especially liked Stanley Tucci and Liev Schreiber, they make up the backbone of the cast for sure. It’s Mark Ruffalo, however, that gives one of the best performances of his career and makes me happy that he got nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Ruffalo is probably the only journalist in the film whose passion and need to do what’s right is what’s driving him as opposed to the rest of the Spotlight team who want the story published, yes, but where they have patience because they want it done right, Ruffalo demands action now (and for good reason) and his performance makes you take his side in every scene.
In light of this year being a very blockbuster heavy year for motion pictures, Spotlight slows things down and gives you a slower and bleaker look at an event that is still going on to this day not only in Boston, MA, but all over the world involving the Catholic Church. The end of the film gives you a staggering insight of just how many people have been affected by this conspiracy. The movie doesn’t have the happiest of endings and serves more as a stepping stone for what came after; but it certainly helped shed some light on and educated viewers about the corruption that has and still is taking place around the world.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Very Good
Strong performances help push the bleak and sometimes slow development of Spotlight‘s story; but the movie does its job and informs audiences of what has happened and what could come if more action is not taken. On a side note, Boston has never looked better than in this movie. I only have my Aunt’s word to go off of, who I saw the movie with, but according to her the accuracy for what Boston looked like in the early 2000s was near spot on (with the exception of one misplaced Starbucks).
IMAGES: http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/i/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3AY%5D/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3Am%5D/%5Bcurrent-date%3Acustom%3Ad%5D/spotlight-one-sheet.jpg, http://screencrush.com/442/files/2015/09/spotlight01.jpg, http://s.newsweek.com/sites/www.newsweek.com/files/2015/11/10/spotlight.jpg