Once and while a film like Spotlight comes around and captures the audience purely based on the story alone. Spotlight has no bloodshed, no special effects, or CGI. The film simply relies on the screenplay and the performances alone. And let me tell you, it works.
Based on the 2002 Pulitzer-winning Boston Globe exposé, Spotlight follows the Spotlight team, a group of reporters from the Boston Globe who specialize in long-term investigations. When the new editor is brought in, Marty Baron (Liev Schriber) decided to shake thing up using the Spotlight team and their investigation skills. The Spotlight team dove deep into an investigative unit to uncover the Church’s horrific past and the cover up of the child molestation and sex abuse scandals. Many of the team members have personal connections to the Catholic Church, allowing those connections to blur the deeper the investigation reached.
“This strikes me as an essential story for a local paper” – Marty Baron
The Spotlight team, lead by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) uncovered WAY more than originally intended. Together the rest of the team, Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) slowly uncover that the scandal extends further than just the Boston area. It all leads to one question: How could a scandal this big be covered up for so long?
In the process, the team finds out how the cover ups became so black and white, even finding that the Globe may have been part of the problem years before. The team began to spend more time with each other than with their own families. Personal details are slowly shared about their involvement with the church. Sacha attended church with her grandmother on Sundays, while Matty grew up going to Catholic school.
The team focused on former priest John J. Geoghan. Geoghan allegedly molested several children years ago, but only got “reassigned” when a complaint would arise. Sacha and Micheal began to question the victims who are now adults. They even go so far to talk to some lawyers (Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup) who are dealing with the scandal from the legal side.
Deadlines approach just as they uncover enough of the about the scandal. The findings are downright eerie.
Director Tom McCarthy was able to bring the docudrama to life keeping the subject matter tight and smart. The story was able to focus on the hunt, rather than the individuals themselves. McCarthy made the Spotlight team rather uninteresting, allowing the story to grow from the underplayed characters and growing performances.
Expect to hear a lot about Spotlight during Awards Season. The film already picked up two nods for Best Ensemble Cast for the SAG Awards and for Best Motion Picture Drama in the Golden Globes. Rachel McAdams also picked up a SAG nomination and McCarthy picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director and Screenplay, joined by Josh Singer.
The downside of having a great ensemble cast is that the actors are canceling themselves out for picking up individual nominations. But hey, a nomination is a nomination and with Oscar nods coming out just around the corner anything is possible.