Academy Award Best Picture nominees tend to tackle or shed light on difficult subjects, and Spotlight is no exception to this. Tom McCarthy’s depiction of actual events is an interesting and thought provoking look into a truly horrifying and corrupt system that very few films have tackled before, and that can still be seen as morally relevant today.
The film tells the story of a real group of investigative journalists working at The Boston Globe, who are known collectively as Spotlight. The team (portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James and Liev Schreiber) start investigating the rumours of Roman Catholic priests sexually abusing young children in their churches. What they uncover is worse than anything anyone could have ever imagined.
The Spotlight actors all connect extraordinarily well together, with their effortless chemistry truly giving the illusion that they have worked together for a number of years. The stand out performances however, are Ruffalo and McAdams, who received nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively. Ruffalo plays a journalist who is desperate for the truth, frequently having frustrated outbursts because of the cover ups and lack of access that they have to crucial information. McAdams is the journalist who is tasked with interviewing the people involved in the abuse, and this completely rocks her Christian faith.
Director and writer Tom McCarthy does an excellent job with dealing with the incredibly difficult subject in such a delicate way within the film. This film could truly go for shock factor in order to put its point across, but instead it recounts stories and statistics in an unbelievably thrilling way. Even though this film is mostly just sit-down chats, the script and the events in the film are more edge-of-your-seat than most action movies. The subject matter of the film reminded me a lot of Academy Award celebrated ‘Doubt’, made in 2008 and also having an all star cast (Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour-Hoffman). The differences between the two films though are stark, in Spotlight we get that closure that we don’t get in Doubt, and it’s also a lot more frightening as it’s a true story, whereas Doubt can be passed off as a cautionary tale.
Spotlight is a truly remarkable film, which aims to highlight these disgusting crimes, and the lengths that the churches go to protect their reputation. At the end of the film, there is a full list of areas that have known sex offenders in their churches, and the widespread nature of it is truly shocking. Films like this are so important, as they educate a mass audience on something that their society may be trying to cover up.