Posted in Reviews, Top Stories by - November 13, 2015

The screen reads “Open Road Films,” the lights come up and the music cues in, courtesy of Howard Shore. The setting is in Boston, Massachusetts, 1986. We see a few clean-cut police officers, waiting around the headquarters. A couple of Catholic ministers walk in, consoling and interacting with a few children, for some unnamed reason and then they walk back out. One officer, remarks about the charges against the priests and another officer, scoffs, indicating there will be no charges brought against these men.

Fast forward to 2001, weeks ahead of the fateful morning on September 11th. Movements are being made at the Boston Globe, namely, a new Editor-in-Chief, Marty Baron, played by Liev Schreiber (“The Butler”). He is new in town and considered an outsider by the vast majority of the community. The community is its own character within the story of “Spotlight.” You can see it, as the wind blows through the trees. You know that it’s there without knowing. I must say, unequivocally, that the picture created of the city of Boston, HERE, is unique and it has great substance. Every character, primary or secondary, great or small, has an agenda and a clear voice and they speak with tremendous passion and purpose.

For his first point-of-order as the new boss, Baron appoints a specific faction, within the Boston paper, to investigate and aid in reopening the case of the accused priests from years earlier. Much has also happened since then. In fact, dozens upon dozens of men (of the cloth) are now being tied into this large-scale scandal. There are many layers to uncover and the Spotlight team is determined to peel back as many of those layers as is necessary, in order to put an end to these inappropriate acts. At the very least, they can help to bring justice to the many people, as individuals and families, who have been greatly impacted amidst the scandal.

While Walter Robinson, played by Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Sacha Pfeiffer, played by Rachel McAdams (“Southpaw”) are effective in their leadership and delicate approach on such an important matter, the key relationship to keep an eye on, both in the story and as an unlikely, but effective acting duo is that played by Mark Ruffalo (“The Avengers”), as Michael Rezendes and Stanley Tucci (“The Hunger Games”), as Mitchell Garabedian. Perhaps they are one in the same, as the people they portray within the movie, but have wandered into seemingly different life styles. Their respective backgrounds as Bostonians leads to a very important discussion on the subject, summed up with a very poignant revelation, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.”

Once a specific turning point in the film had been reached, I found myself thinking that Mark Ruffalo had really reach a new high as an actor. Interestingly enough,

there was nothing flashy or glamorous about the character, but what Ruffalo was able to bring to his performance truly fleshed out in a loud and productive way. HIS voice and HIS agenda, for whatever the reason, echoed the loudest in a sea of stirred and highly volatile elements, represented by dozens of familiar AND unfamiliar faces.

With the brilliance of cinematography (Masanobu Takayanagi) and level of editing (Tom McArdle) in this film, there was never a dull or unwasted moment or set of words or phrases that did not seem to resonate when it was intended to OR how it was supposed to. Someone KNEW who Boston was AND is today and director Thomas McCarthy deserves much of the credit and praise for tying this all together. His credentials are piling up and appear to be as impressive as the respective collections of the rest of the crew. Yes, it FEELS like “Spotlight” needs to BE in the spotlight and in my mind I can already comprise a list of what categories it should be recognized for.

For the record, there is at least one acting performance, which is noticeably missing from the casting list and HE deserves his due, as well, even as simply being a voice in the story, quite literally. If you know who he is by his voice, then you have my congratulations, but if we are in disagreement of who he is, you will NOT persuade my prediction. It should also be pointed out, the Catholic Church has not been silent about the release of this film. Even though it drudges up an ugly past for the Church aforementioned, they have largely conceded their approval, for the movie, as it is an “honest portrayal” of what happened.

Although, I am not personally Catholic, I believe the story is as objective as journalism ought to be. Yet, as Garabedian heads into a small room filled with children, at the end of the story, we can see that the cycle will not simply break over night. That is equally clear, as the final action unfolds in the small room, housed by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team.

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1 Comment on "Spotlight"

  • Raymond Stone

    In it to WIN it!! Thank You!

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