Since the 1970s, the investigative reporting unit of The Boston Globe, Spotlight, has been uncovering all kinds of stories. In 2001, the four person team consisted of editor Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton) and investigative journalists Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachael McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). When the newly-appointed editor-in-chief, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) asks them to drop what they’re doing and follow up on the work of a fellow Globe journalist about sexual abuse allegations of a Catholic priest against a minor, they are hesitant to work on the story. However, after talking to known victims, such as the head of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and lawyers involved in the alleged sex abuse cases, it soon becomes apparent that these allegations aren’t arising as isolated incidences, nor is it just happening in Boston. Their goal is to not only publish such an important story, but to ensure that other major papers such as The Boston Herald don’t get it first as they are subject to heavy influence from the Catholic Church. However, it soon comes to everyone’s attention that it is not just the Church that is to blame for such a massive cover-up.
What an eye-opening film… I’m going to say now, straightaway, that if you’ve not already seen it, you have to get yourself to the nearest cinema to see Spotlight. For those of you who have, feel free to stay and read on. Last week, myself and the best bitch decided that we needed to meet up during the school break to see something in the cinema, and this was what we chose to watch. Although both of us thought the first twenty minutes were a bit slow, when the film gathered pace it did so extremely well. It has been quite a while since I’ve seen a film that was so brilliantly written, and I’d say it will be a while again before I see the same standard.
Of course, brilliant writing is no good to anyone if the people delivering it are no good. I am, however, delighted to inform you that that was not the case here. The whole case were terrific, but if I were to talk about each and every one of them to the lengths I’d like to we’d be here all day, so I’ll just focus on the two Oscar nominated performances. Rachael McAdams gave a very compassionate performance as Sacha Pfeiffer. Watching her, you could feel the sincerity with which the real journalist had approached the case, but also the emotional connection she felt with the investigation as well.
Mark Ruffalo absolutely has to be the showstopper for me. His character, Michael Rezendes, was so passionate about getting to the bottom of the scandal that had been covered up for so long – the emotion and conviction just radiated off of him. I’d really like to see the film do very well at the Academy Awards, but if it were only to win one of the six gongs it has been nominated for, I genuinely hope that it goes to Ruffalo for his harrowing powerhouse performance.
As I’ve already pointed out, the screenplay for this film was frightfully good, and gave a real insight into the struggles faced by the formidable Spotlight team. If you go onto watch it after reading this but find the first twenty minutes to be dragging, I urge you to stick with it. I can assure you that when it gets going, it is most certainly worth the wait.
So, overall, I don’t know what else I could possibly say to try and persuade you to watch Spotlight, however I can say that I’ll be quite disappointed if it doesn’t come away from the Oscars with at least one of the iconic statuettes. It is a truly remarkable piece of cinema that deserves global recognition in my opinion – not only for the people involved in the film, but for the largely unsung heroes that revealed such diabolical yet common occurrences that rocked the world for so long.