Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight
Director: Tom McCarthy
Writer: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, Jamey Sheridan, Billy Crudup
Seen on: 13.3.2016

Plot:
Robby (Michael Keaton) runs the Spotlight department of the Boston Globe, meaning he and his team – consisting of Mike (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha (Rachel McAdams) and Matt (Brian d’Arcy James) – do in-depth research to uncover the big stories while not getting bogged down in the day-to-day business of writing news articles. When the Globe hires Marty (Liev Schreiber) as the new editor-in-chief, Marty asks the Spotlight team to dive into the story of child abuse by a catholic priest. The more they dig, the more they start to uncover until it becomes clear that the problem runs much deeper than just one priest.

Spotlight was an engaging film with great performances and about an important topic. I don’t know if you can say that you enjoyed a story about systematic abuse, but watching Spotlight it’s probably the closest you’ll ever gonna get to that.

spotlight

From today’s perspective it seems surprising that the discoveries of the Spotlight team came so much as a surprise to everyone. Haven’t we been joking (for better or worse) about molesting priests since about forever? But then again, the Spotlight team also uncovered decades of research about that very phenomenon and that hadn’t changed then. I doubt that it has changed in the past 15 years either. The catholic church still operates within their own perimeters and I’m sure that more often than not the systematic cover-up of child abuse (and other offenses) persists. So Spotlight’s reminder of just that can’t hurt.

And while I do have to surpress that urge to say that all of that is old news, isn’t it, I very much appreciated the fact that they made it perfectly clear that this is not about the horrific crime of independent predators who just happen to be priests, but that it is about a system by the catholic church that is built to protect and shield these abusers and ultimately leads to giving the abusers freedom to abuse again and again. (And I’m telling you, Liev Schreiber in that role saying intelligent things like that was more than enough to make my knees wobbly. But that was just a bonus.)

spotlight1Generally the cast was strong and they all got their moments to shine, to be particularly outraged and/or to have their say. Unfortunately it is Rachel McAdams – already the only woman in the men’s club that is the film – who falls behind in that respect. Not because she was worse than the rest but because the script didn’t afford her the luxury it gave the others.

Apart from that, though, there is very little to fault the movie with. It’s an engaging piece of film that certainly had me hooked from the first to the last moment. I’m glad that I don’t have much trust in the church as an institution, because if I had any to begin with, the movies would have probably severly shaken it.

spotlight2Summarizing: Very much recommended.

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