Spotlight (2015)

2:08 PM

The true story behind the scandal that shook the world. 
 Spotlight is directed by Tom McCarthy (The Cobbler, Win Win) and stars Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Shutter Island), Michael Keaton (Birdman, Batman), Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris, Sherlock Holmes) and Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games, The Terminal). "The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core". Spotlight was this years Best Picture at the Oscars - how worthy is it of that title? 



I don't dispute Spotlight winning Best Picture but I certainly think other films in the category were more deserving - Room, The Big Short, The Martian, Mad Max and to some extent, The Revenant were all better films in my opinion. However, that doesn't make Spotlight a bad film as it is definitely very close behind. Spotlight is an all rounder - it has a powerful story, a unique take on that story and great acting. I definitely recommend Spotlight as it is one of them awards contenders that has a running time of over 2 hours and you don't even notice that time pass - it is captivating from (almost the) start to finish. 

The story for Spotlight is very eye-opening and I can understand why it won Best Original Screenplay. I think it is difficult to make a story about journalism as interesting, shocking and captivating as it is but Spotlight does a really good job. I think the subject matter helps of course - Priests who have raped and abused young children - this matter is shocking in itself so to see it explored in a film just adds to this. I think the way the film developed and you saw outsiders who aren't detectives or police discover this information was very effect and had a big impact. I just thought the story was something unique - like Room changes the perspective of the typical kidnap story, Spotlight changes the perspective of the typical news story - instead of being all about the subject matter, the film is about the people reporting it. One moment in the film stands out to me where the characters are discovering how many priests have raped children in the Boston area - the camera starts out zoomed in when they think it is only a few but as they are on the phone for longer and discover more and more priests, the camera zooms out to metaphorically suggest 'the bigger picture' - I thought this was intelligent work and I loved how the cinematography mirrored the story. I would say though that Spotlight was definitely not as powerful as The Hunting Ground which covers a similar issue but that is down to The Hunting Ground being about the subject matter rather than who reports it. 

The acting in the film was very very strong. I thought Mark Ruffalo had the strongest performance - he played one of the most important characters and made sure he did them justice. Ruffalo proves he can cross over into so many genres - action, comedy, drama - you name it, he can do it. Rachel McAdams also showcases a different side to her in this film - she moves away from being the romantic love interest and actually plays a character of importance. I thought she did a really nice job - this has to be the first film I've seen her in in a while where she has impressed me quite a bit. Michael Keaton also had a very strong performance - he proved with critics last year that he can act incredibly (Birdman) and he maintains that strength here. I have never been aware of Stanley Tucci in a film until The Hunger Games so it was great to see him do something a little more serious and he did a good job. The only actor that I didn't like for some reason was John Slattery - his appearance was just very dated and looked like he belonged on TV not the silver screen. His performance wasn't necessarily bad but his look just made the film feel quite TV movie -esque at some moments which brings me onto my next point...

The biggest weakness with Spotlight is that it basically is a TV movie and would play incredibly well on any network. I wouldn't be surprised if the film was made for TV but whilst production or post-production, the team noticed they had something special on their hands so thought they would give it a theatrical run. Spotlight definitely isn't something you need to see on the big screen which is ironic because the cinema I went to had it playing on their biggest screen. There was also something a little off with how or what the film was shot with - it just didn't have much cinematic value and did take me out of the film at points. 

Spotlight is a very good film and I can see why it would please Academy members, explaining why it won Best Picture. The film is shocking, moving, effective and puts a very good spin on the typical 'based on real life' film. Instead of watching the actual events, we watch a newspaper company report it. The acting is strong across the board - the standout being Mark Ruffalo. Spotlight is a film that I feel you should see but not necessarily in the cinema as it does have qualities of a TV movie. Spotlight is a very good film and thanks to the Oscars, it is nice to see a film that would probably just go under the radar move into the spotlight and deservingly so. 

4 STARS
B+

What did you think of SPOTLIGHT? Do you think it deserved Best Picture? - COMMENT BELOW

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