Spotlight is directed by Tom McCarthy and stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Liev Schreiber. It’s the true story of the Boston news reporters who work for the Boston Globe who uncovered a very disturbing scandal happening within the Catholic Church, as well as the law officials who were trying to cover it up. I went into watching this film not knowing exactly what it was about; I knew that it was about some scandal, that there was something very serious going on, and that it was a true story. I had no idea of the actual plot of the film, and as the film played along, I was consistently shocked, surprised, and floored by a remarkably well written and well acted film. This film truly blew me away, and this film is very subdued in a lot of ways. The cast and crew are really holding back quite often, as this film doesn’t attempt to make our news reporters, who are uncovering this very unsavory news story look like heroes. Instead, the film makes them look like what they are: reporters who care about their job and want to give a good story, reporters who actually care about justice for those who are wronged. That fact alone is one of the things I loved most about this film.
Every single actor/actress in this film is holding back in terms of taking their roles too far, as there’s really only one scene where someone has an outburst of sorts, and the rest of the film is exactly how it would be in real life. Think about when you hear bad news- do you pick up a chair, throw it against the wall, and start screaming? No, you would generally just sit there and take the emotion in. That’s how these actors/actresses behave throughout this entire film, as this case builds and builds to a point where you are just amazed that this is a true story. The behavior of the cast adds an extreme sense of realism, as that is what it would be like in real life if you were on a team of people trying to make something known, making it known at just the right time, and having a variety of legal obstacles in the way. Spotlight is a film that is so well acted, so well directed, and so well written that as you watch it, you almost don’t feel like you’re watching a film, you feel like you’re watching a documentary.
The film’s story is so well told that you truly do feel like these true events are happening right before your eyes, despite the fact that you know you’re looking at Michael Keaton, who plays Walter “Robby” Robinson, editor of the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team, the same actor who played Batman, you’re looking at Mark Ruffalo, who plays Michael Rezendes, the same actor who played The Hulk, or even Liev Schreiber, who plays Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, who played Sabretooth. Michael Keaton is truly terrific in this film, and Mark Ruffalo gives one of the best performances of his entire career, even being nominated for Best Supporting Actor by the Academy Awards. Spotlight is a movie that has a cast that truly gives such quality performances to the point where they begin to disappear into their characters, and when that can be said, despite having actors in this film that are so recognizable, that is extremely high praise.
Spotlight is a disturbing movie, but it’s disturbing in the way that it should be. This event truly happened. People dealt with it, and here’s the people that brought it to light, and this is why they were doing something good. The film went on to garner critical acclaim from critics, and received six total nominations for the 88th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing awards- it later won in both the Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay categories. Spotlight shows the audience that the newspaper world has changed quite drastically since 2002, but this type of work is as important now as it has ever been, and the film serves as a pure commendation of journalists doing what they do best.