HOLLYWOOD—Speaking from the perspective of a reporter, yes the term can be moved around slightly depending on those who prefer journalist, I’d like to consider myself a reporter. One who does the digging, the investigation and not the incentive to rush a story for the pure sake of getting it out there before everyone else without having all the appropriate facts.
I’ve seen two films in the journalistic arena that I have a massive amount of respect for: one being the 2009 drama “State of Play,” the other being the 2015 drama “Spotlight.” So much buzz has been circulating around “Spotlight” and why it’s being deemed one of the best pieces of cinema for the year 2015, and I must agree. Not just in the notion of being a journalist but because the film is so invigorating, suspenseful, captivating and keeps the viewers immersed from the opening moment to the closing scene.
Having a cast where the level of acting is top-notch, rarely takes place in a movie, but “Spotlight” encompasses a bevy of actors and actresses whose skills compliments the other. I mean Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and a host of others. For those not in the know, the movie chronicles the explosion of the sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic Church. This was not a story that simply happened over night, it was something that was years in the making and it was a team of reporters from the Boston Globe known as the ‘Spotlight’ team who were responsible for bringing the news to light to the American public.
Before watching the picture I kept asking myself, precisely what does ‘Spotlight’ mean? I now know the answer to that question. Whenever filmmakers tackle a subject that is based on a true story or real life events it’s always a touchy subject, but director Tom McCarthy does so with such a delicacy. He doesn’t forget to pinpoint not just the narrative of what is taking place, but the story behind the people who were responsible for helping make this story come to light.
Keaton portrays Robby Robinson, editor and the leading member of the exclusive team of reporters who work on top-notch stories with a level of precision and pure dedication is sensational. I cannot fathom how in the world Keaton was overlooked in the Best Actor race this awards season. This is NOT a supporting role; it’s a performance that is front and center throughout the entire film. That same sentiment can be echoed for many of his counterparts including Ruffalo who portrays reporter Michael Rezendes, and Adams who portrays Sacha Pfeiffer.
That scene where Ruffalo unleashes his response to the story being placed on hold is a bit of a moment where Oscar is screaming. Yes, I know everyone is in the corner of Sylvester Stallone for his work in “Creed,” but dammit please don’t forget what Ruffalo does in this movie, it’s remarkable. What I appreciate the most about the movie is seeing what true journalism is all about; the door to door knocking, the fact-finding, the investigative reporting, doing the hard work; something that isn’t seen as much nowadays in the journalism world. “Spotlight” echoes that it’s okay to gather all the vital information, to accurately check it before putting a story out there without all the proper information.
It almost boils your skin to see to what lengths people will steep to in order to cover their tracks. I mean we’re talking about the Catholic Church, police officers, politicians, lawyers and a sleuth of others who participated in this cover up in an attempt to prevent a black eye being placed in the world of religion. “Spotlight” hits the spectator with emotional punches that at times are quite unexpected to say the least; that however is the power of true cinema. It provokes raw emotions that you never expect to surface.
If you are a cinema buff or someone who appreciates true journalism “Spotlight” is a movie that is not just something for entertainment value. It tells a story, one that is quite important and that needed to be shared with the rest of the world.