Who knew that, in 2015, director Tom McCarthy would release one film that garnered nothing but negative buzz (the Adam Sandler-starring “The Cobbler”), and another film that has all the critics talking? Now, there is another question that comes to mind. Is “Spotlight” really worth all the award-worthy chatter? The answer: Yes, it is. Not only is it an important feature, but it’s one that’s so well-crafted and so intriguing that you won’t stop thinking about it for days.
“Spotlight” takes us back to 2001, before the Internet became what it is today, and the newspaper industry was still thriving. A team of investigative journalists working for the Boston Globe in its Spotlight division are about to uncover one of the biggest scandals in history involving the Catholic Church and priests that have been molesting children for years. But it’s not going to be an easy task, as they face sources unwilling to fully reveal what information they hold, and a number of people who don’t want to see the story published.
While “Spotlight” does have some moments that aren’t quite as engaging as the rest of the film, this is a feature that truly showcases the erratic lifestyle and hard work that any journalist faces. One’s experience doesn’t necessarily have to be in daily publications in order to get how difficult it is to get to the bottom of a story. The long work hours; the unhealthy eating habits; sources not calling back; people turning you away. It’s all here, and it’s all captured so perfectly by McCarthy and crew.
Michael Keaton is magnificent as the editor of Spotlight, Walter Robinson. But it’s Mark Ruffalo that steals the show as intrepid reporter Michael Rezendes. He’s perfect in every moment, and there’s one scene toward the third act in which Ruffalo just nails it. He’s surely to get a nod for his performance.
The rest of the cast consists of Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci – all of whom excel in their roles. If there was an Oscar for Best Ensemble, “Spotlight” would easily take it. It’s a sure bet it’ll win that award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.
As the investigation goes further and further, and more information becomes known, “Spotlight” gets more and more intense. McCarthy has crafted a slow-burning thriller that hits hard in the end. It’s one of the more thought-provoking films to be released this year, and should definitely be seen.