Directed by: Tom McCarthy Written by: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
The blurb says: “In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.”
Making an investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic Priests by a team of Boston journalists into compelling, must-watch cinema cannot have been an easy task, but somehow that is what Spotlight manages. It is an ensemble piece in which every player brings their A game. From Ruffalo’s twitchy, tenacious, investigative journalist to Liev Schrieber’s carefully measured turn as the new editor and outsider, the whole cast brings life to what could have been a very bland and bleak affair.
An exercise in searching through archives becomes a compelling detective tale, while waiting for documents to be released from the courthouse becomes as tense as any car chase. Journalism and research pre-internet era was a slog, and at times Spotlight feels like a period piece, despite taking place just 15 years ago. Regardless of technology the tale is still highly relevant and leaves the viewer feeling distinctly uncomfortable that such large scale abuse could go unchecked by so many for so long.
A compelling, if ultimately uncomfortable watch.
9 out of 10