Engrossingly procedural, Spotlight matter-of-factly follows investigative journalists of The Boston Globe uncover a decades-long cover-up by the Catholic Church of sexual abuse by priests on children. In doing so, they reveal the culpability of the police, local government and their own newspaper.
In choosing to avoid overt emotion on screen, director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win) manages to tell a tale succinctly and powerfully. As the level of cover-up slowly unfolds, so the revelations of the team leave you in disbelief: the ramifications of their discoveries were felt around the world.
Spotlight is a real ensemble piece, with quiet, nuanced performances by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Foxcatcher) and Rachel McAdams (Sherlock Holmes, Midnight in Paris), both of whom received Oscar nominations. But Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman) was inexplicably left out, with Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada, The Hunger Games), Liev Schreiber (Salt, X- Men Origins: Wolverine) and John Slattery (Mad Men, Ant-Man) all in fine form.
It’s not an enjoyable film in the true sense of the word, but, like films such as Erin Brockovich and the more recent Dark Waters, it’s an important one. And it’ll leave you disgusted and mortified.
Nominated for 6 Oscars in 2016, won 2 (best film, original screenplay).