January 27, 2015

Review, Theatrical Leave a Comment

“…important and absorbing.”


Sarah Ward
Year: 2015
Rating: M
Director: Tom McCarthy

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Distributor: eOne
Released: January 28, 2016
Running Time: 129 minutes
Worth: $18.00

FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

…important and absorbing.

In 2001, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a pattern of pedophilia within the Catholic Church. New editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), charged investigative reporters, Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matty Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James), with expanding upon a story about abuse – and in revealing the widespread exploitation of children, as well as the systematic cover up, they delivered. Their search wasn’t easy, as they scoured records, begged victims to share their stories, and met dead ends and slammed doors.

Spotlight charts their disciplined detective work, as well as their growing awareness that such a situation doesn’t just happen; “if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one,” as one character puts it. Their meticulous methods get a film to match, with writer/director, Tom McCarthy, and his co-scribe, Josh Singer, precise and painstaking in piecing their quest together. This is a feature that doles out details incrementally, and ensures that the task at hand never smacks of heroism or glamour.

And just as the narrative relies upon a group of people all doing their part for the greater good, so too does the movie. McCarthy shakes off the misfire that was The Cobbler and returns to the firmer ground of his far superior films, The Station Agent, The Visitor and Win Win, crafting a gripping procedural that conjures suspense even with the real life outcome known. McCarthy’s cast is right by his side in a true ensemble effort, and while Keaton, Schreiber and Ruffalo all stand out, there isn’t a weak link in the complicated bunch. Their solid performances mirror the film: unflashy and old-fashioned, always simmering with intensity, and never anything less than important and absorbing.

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