SPOTLIGHT is a film that can win as many awards as possible, gain the attention and high praises of anyone who sees it, and the film would still be an understatement. What this film achieves, is something that most films never come close to; accountability. This film holds everyone accountable; from the Catholic Church, the lawyers making easy money on out of court settlements, society that has turned a blind eye, and above all – the journalists themselves.
Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy brings a subtlety masterful hand to this film. There are not any sweeping camera movements in the direction, there’s nothing that explodes from the screenplay. As wonderful as the performances are, there isn’t a scene stealer, there isn’t one juicy role for an actor to come in and show off. It is meticulously crafted by McCarthy and his GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS worthy ensemble. In a word, this film is perfection.
Michael Keaton headlines the cast as the tough Robby Robinson, whose floating Boston accent heads the Boston Globe’s investigative unit Spotlight. Keaton gives a tremendous low key performance, doubling down on his cache he had received from his brilliant turn in BIRDMAN. Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams follow behind Keaton as his two forwards, obsessively losing themselves in their quest to find the truth.
The subject matter is very hard to watch, and very hard to re-live for those affected by sex abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church, those affected by lawyers quietly arranging hush money in the shadows of the Church all the while making sure there isn’t a paper trail of court documents, and lastly, those affected by the oversite of reporters who either missed tips, or did not take them seriously. This film is not about atonement, this film is about it’s accountability to the survivors.