Starring: Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Tom McCarthy
Running Time: 128 mins
Spotlight is an American film about the true story of a team of reporters from the Boston Globe who uncovered a disturbing series of cases of local priests molesting young children, which grew into a major scandal surrounding the entire Catholic Church.
This is easily one of the best-written films I’ve ever seen. Spotlight has such an amazing screenplay that successfully kept me engrossed from start to finish, by keeping a strong air of mystery to the story, but also by emphasising the devastating significance of the findings of these journalists, which was my standout memory from this film.
Before I get into what’s so great about the screenplay, however, let’s just talk about the performances. With a fantastic cast, the acting in this film is great. It doesn’t set the world on fire, given the more real-world nature of all of the characters, coupled with the often downbeat atmosphere, but it’s still clear that the actors give their all, and in the end, are really impressive.
It’s another sterling turn from Michael Keaton, and although it’s not as spectacular as he was last year in Birdman, I loved watching him play this brilliant journalist throughout. Meanwhile, I have to say that, in this film, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci all give the best performances I’ve ever seen from them, as they’re all both fantastically restrained and calm in their roles, and yet bring a clear emotional strength that really intrigued me, particularly when the story took a turn into some of its darker parts.
But what really stands out in this film is the incredible script. Not only does it tell a fascinating story from a historical point of view, regarding how these journalists managed to uncover such a shocking scandal, but the way it evolves and changes as the film goes on is really something.
I felt so much more connected to the protagonists’ feelings because of the way that the screenplay so clearly gives an atmosphere of a growing sense of dread. It’s not the nature of the crimes committed that are most disturbing here, but, as the film shows, it’s the fact that it was such a far-reaching and devastating phenomenon that was covered up by one of the world’s most powerful organisations, and the writing expertly evokes that really terrifying reality.
The dialogue is also excellent. This isn’t a film that relies at all on showing you the gritty details of its subject matter, but instead gives you a sense of it through discussions, but it works so beautifully. Through some very unnerving scenes of interviews with victims, you get such a clear picture of what was going on, but on top of that, you’re far more affected emotionally by the crimes, and have even greater sympathy for the victims, than if you just saw it and were disgusted by it, which has to be seen as a fantastic success in the screenplay.
Overall, Spotlight is a really excellent film, with fantastic performances that keep you emotionally connected to the main characters, and an outstanding screenplay that will completely engross you right the way through, and that’s why it gets an 8.4 from me.