Friday, November 13, 2015

Spotlight



This review originally appeared on SFist.com.

It's both a good thing and a sad thing that I went into the movie Spotlight not knowing all that much about the molestation scandal that rocked the Catholic community in Boston — and the entire country — in 2002. Good because the shocking truths that are slowly and painfully revealed throughout the course of the movie make for some pretty suspenseful viewing. Sad because Jesus Christ everyone should know about this! Hopefully this movie will make sure that happens.

Comparisons to All the Presidents Men are easy but accurate to make: they both present journalism as exciting, important, and riveting stuff. Michael Keaton heads the cast as Walter "Robby" Robinson, lead editor of the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe, a team of investigative journalists that are able to work separately from the daily reporters, following stories for as long as it takes to get them told right. When Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) takes over as the Globe's Editor-in-Chief, he decides to dig deeper in a story about molestation by local Catholic priests, and puts Spotlight on the story.

Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James are solid as the other Spotlight reporters, and their investigation uncovers years and years of abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church, as well as a devastating number of abusers and victims. For the most part, the reporters' private lives are left out of the story, and what we see is the team doing their jobs, something that certainly doesn't sound movie-worthy, but most definitely is. The cast is also, for the most part, delightfully subdued, with only Mark Ruffalo having a scene that's just a little too "For Your Consideration."

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