"Spotlight" (2015)- Movie Review

Written and Directed by Tom McCarthy
Co-written by Josh Singer
Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams

‘Filmmaking at it’s Finest’

It is not easy to make a movie out of a subject that people are not interested in. Nowadays, most movies are made for one purpose only: to entertain. In order to attract audiences to the theater, often these types of movies tend to be superhero fare, action-packed blockbusters or comedies. Unfortunately, if it doesn’t fit this criteria audiences are not interested in seeing the film.

Take, for example, films about journalism. Journalism is a rather dry topic that doesn’t attract the attention of many movie-goers. Why is this? Unlike big-budget blockbusters which are always guaranteed to entertain, films about journalism are often seen as boring. Sitting through these films requires a lot of patience and attention, which is why most movie-goers refuse to see them.

Films that focus on journalism are not everyone’s cup of tea, however, Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” is well worth your time. If there’s anything that this film isn’t, it’s boring. An enlightening, gripping and thought-provoking investigation of a shocking scandal, “Spotlight”” is one of the most well-made journalism films I’ve come across in recent years. It is superbly acted, brilliantly directed and sharply written, pulling off the tricky feat of being both easy to understand and entertaining for the average movie-goer. Although journalism isn’t a career that appeals to everyone, with “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy has crafted an important film that deserves to be seen and talked about.

Based on real-life events that took place during the early 2000’s, the film follows the true story of how the Boston Globe newspaper investigated a scandal that found priests guilty for molesting children. Through the efforts of a team of reporters known as ‘Spotlight’, the Boston Globe brought this controversial scandal to the attention of the public.

It is rather tricky to bring a real-life story to the big-screen. A filmmaker is faced with the daunting task of portraying events with historical accuracy while at the same time engaging the viewer. With “Spotlight”, however, director Tom McCarthy successfully pulls this off. Out of all the topics that films explore nowadays, journalism may be the least exciting of them all. Nonetheless, with the help of a star-studded cast of talented actors and a top-notch screenplay, Tom McCarthy has managed to make a captivating film that captures the day-to-day lives of people in this profession.

Revealing insights into the way that journalists do their jobs, “Spotlight” is a dialogue-driven film that delivers due to a terrific script. In a film like this, it is often hard to grasp a hold of the viewer’s attention because there is almost no action. Instead, the film relies on a lot of talking and conversations to build tension. One might expect this to be rather boring, but surprisingly it isn’t. The dialogue is crisp and clever, the characters come across as believable and at no point are you bothered by the lack of action in the film. In a year that has been filled with action-packed movies, “Spotlight” is one of those rare films that engages the viewer purely through dialogue.

Another aspect about the film that is top-notch are the performances from a star-studded cast. In the year’s most award-worthy line-up of actors, each and every performer is at the top of their game.

In a cast that is filled with talented actors, perhaps the most memorable standout is Mark Ruffalo as a passionate journalist. Intense, charismatic and highly convincing in this one of his first award-worthy roles, Ruffalo delivers one of the best performances of his career. With a commanding presence and the most powerful monologue of the year, he is truly deserving of awards-recognition.

Michael Keaton is another actor who deserves attention. He is one of those actors who elevates every film he appears in, and “Spotlight” more than anything else proves it. After wowing audiences last year with his electric turn in “Birdman”, Keaton proves once again why he is one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood today.

Whether it is the charismatic Rachel McAdams as a journalist who listens carefully while doing interviews or the sharp Stanley Tucci in a small yet pivotal role, it is also worth mentioning the outstanding supporting cast in which every actor gets the opportunity to shine.

As is the case with most films about journalism, “Spotlight” is a slow-paced drama that takes it’s time to build up. The only downside to this film is that it starts off slowly, not grabbing your attention immediately. In a day and age where most movies are thoroughly entertaining, the slow pacing of this film will not appeal to everyone. For example, movie-goers that are impatient may find themselves constantly checking the time.

Nevertheless, I found this film to be so gripping that I almost didn’t want it to end. It kept me engaged, at the edge of my seat, and opened my eyes to a relevant issue that I had previously not known about at all. Perhaps, the best way to describe “Spotlight” is that it was like reading a gripping novel. Once I flipped through the first few pages, it was almost impossible to put down.

4.5/5 stars

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