DIRECTED BY TOM McCARTHY
STARRING MICHAEL KEATON, MARK RUFFALO, RACHEL McADAMS, BRIAN d’ARCY JAMES
WRITTEN BY TOM McARTHY & JOSH SINGER
The very powerful Spotlight asks questions. Questions involving God, Faith, collective responsibility, social fabric, work ethics, morality, Psychology and, of course, gives enough evidence to redoubt the choices that we make in the name of “Free Will”.
In an important scene a man, who was abused as a child by a Catholic Church Priest tells a journalist that he still considers himself a Catholic because Church is an institution created by men and is passing; his faith is in the eternal. They are separate.
You must have peeled an onion. But I know after the first or maybe the second layer you cut it into pieces. Do you have the patience to peel it layer by layer, slowly, and very carefully? This film does that job for you. Spotlight is a team of Boston Globe’s investigative journalists that works secretly on a story. Headed by Editor Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), Spotlight has three other journalists Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfieffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matty Carroll (Brian D’Arcy James). They always pick their stories themselves but, this time, the new Chief Editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) wants to work them on a story involving abuse of children by the Catholic Church Priests. The catch here is that the Church is very powerful in Boston and the guy calling the shots, Matty Baron, is a Jew himself. But you know, the usual stuff is not there. By usual stuff, I mean communalizing the issue, threatening the reporters and the newspaper, victimization of the child abuse victims again to score some points on the emotional front, showing the priests as predators or the reporters as heroes and finally the victory of good over evil. No, nothing like that.
So, what happens in the film?
First few minutes into the film and you don’t have any idea what the hell is going on. Then you start trying to find the answer to this question and in a few moments, without realizing, you become the part of that office of journalists and you work along with them. All this happens in first two or three minutes only. You become Spotlight. Without any melodrama on the screen, you completely grab the sense of urgency and even feel like somewhere, unknown, a time bomb is ticking.
Just like true journalism, the film never tries to be judgmental. There is no love or hate; there is only truth to be told to the people. It has no essential components of a film and yet it grips you the moment it starts. The actors!! My god!! Michael Keaton is real as the Boston Boy who has to tell the uncomfortable truth to the City. Ruffalo and McAdams have nailed it, especially Mark Ruffalo, he is superb as the slight maniac writer on this team. But you know, my pick is Liev Schreiber. He has very few scenes and fewer dialogues but he is the ticking time bomb I was talking about (though it doesn’t explode), his mannerism is providing the required urgency to the whole setup. Stanley Tucci deserves a special mention here. Acting as a misunderstood crusader, he provides very powerful support.
Director Thomas McCarthy is a genius. With co-writer Josh Singer, he has given us something that has academic value. It is a lesson in screenwriting. The power of the press is presented by the power of the screenplay. Nominated for 6 Oscars it’s surely going to win Best Original Screenplay Award.
Trust me, whatever you are doing right now is worthless. Go watch this. Rarely I would do this in future but yes I am almost requesting you to watch Spotlight.