SPOTLIGHT [2015]

Spotlight_affiche

Directed by Tom McCarthy

Written by Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams , Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci


I grew up going to a Catholic school. In my second (or third) year, the principal of the school (who was also a priest/’father’) suddenly retired for no specific reason at all. This was mere days after a group camp for those in grade seven arrived back home. The principal had travelled with them. No one was certain, but the timing of his retirement was extremely coincidental, not to mention sudden and without warning. Eventually, rumours began circling around the school.

A few years after I had left the school (untouched, thankfully) stories began to surface, speaking of priests abusing children at the school I went to. I wasn’t shocked, especially after the sudden disappearance of Father Martin, but finding out about the depth of it all, how far these secrets were buried, it was beyond my comprehension at that time.

After these events, it comes as no surprise that Spotlight is a powerful film. Despite it all being a true story, and despite it all being common knowledge, I found myself riveted by the teams hard working investigation, and not knowing the precise details of the case, I was consistently blown away by each nugget of information uncovered as the case became bigger and increasingly widespread.

The ensemble cast are fantastic, paired with a script that powers the story forward. A misstep in either of these areas could have led to a dull movie, but thankfully both the dialogue and the acting are excellent from top to bottom. Especially touching are the actors who play victims of abuse – they deliver their stories with such emotion that it feels real. I could feel for each of these people, which was important in engaging me in a story I already knew the basics of.

As the team talk to more victims, exposing more emotionally powerful stories, it becomes obvious just how horrid the entire situation is. It is this strong acting that really lends power to this film. The main cast are great, especially Mark Ruffalo, but without solid back up this film wouldn’t have worked as well as it does, and there isn’t a single member of the cast who doesn’t perform well.

Spotlight-Movie

The other important piece that made this movie is the script. The lines delivered are very close to perfect, and there is not a single wasted line – not a wasted word to be found. If a character is talking, it is important and/or interesting and it is this consistent, intriguing dialogue that maintains the film’s momentum. It almost feels like a re-enacted documentary, which I suppose it is in a way, but in that regard it was incredibly believable.


These priests involved deserve to be castrated – and don’t think that because this story is from 2002 that this has come close to stopping. Far from it, paedophilia will hopefully raise awareness further, and we can only hope that these disgusting people are thrown in jail. Unfortunately, given the power of the Church and The Vatican, I can’t see that happening, 5.5 beer - no beer topwhich is a damned shame.

These are sick men who prey on the lonely and the poor; children often from broken homes who have nothing else in life. is rife in my city of Adelaide, and many other places, but of course no one wants to admit anything. No one wants to do what Spotlight did. It is easier to allow these traumatised children be thrown into the government system, where they will spend a long time, than to mount an official investigation.

That it is still a problem today is what makes this film so important.


Finally, I must thank Anna from Film Grimoire, whose review of this film alluded to the problems that are still apparent down under. This article is an unfortunate account of yet another priest ignoring the sick, depraved acts of his colleagues. Thanks for the link Anna!

Half a beer short of a sixer!

5.5/6

13 Comments on “SPOTLIGHT [2015]

  1. What a chilling first paragraph! Great review. I don’t real right saying I ‘love’ this movie, but it was the best of the year for me, or will be anyway, as it was a 2016 release for us!
    Even though you know the story that’s being told, it still makes you feel sick when you realise just how deep and widespread this problem is.
    – Allie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed, totally agree. And it just gets bigger and bigger… I’ve had people say that its common knowledge, so its not that important. Problem with that logic is this behaviour is still going unchecked, so people NEED to be reminded.

      This came out down under late Jan so it’ll be a 2016 film for me too 🙂

      Like

  2. Glad to see you finally saw it – I watched it again with Dad the other night and he enjoyed it too. Fantastic movie isn’t it?! Great review as always.

    Like

    • Yeah the acting was really powerful… if this had shitty acting it would have seemed like one of those shitty re-enactments for a current affair

      Like

  3. Nice review Jordan. Spotlight frightened me more than any horror movie I’ve seen in recent years because it actually happened. It’s horrendous how corrupt the Catholic Church and the fact that this only got out so recently is just terrifying. Definitely one of the strongest films of the last year and one that has stayed with me since I saw it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not only was it exposed recently, but it continues to this day, my city is especially bad. No one wants to address it. You think this was a horror film in this vein? Dude, dude, dude! You gotta check out The Club (El Club). Daaark movie about shamed priests

      Like

  4. Wonderful review Jordan! I grew up Catholic too, went to an all-girl high school and all that but though I still firmly believe in Christ, suffice to say I no longer belong to any Christian denomination. What happened in your school is atrocious, thankfully I never encountered any of such horror stories, even though my family knew many of the priests in our parish quite well (most of them were Dutch). Unfortunately these things DO happen in many parts of the world and it needs to stop!!

    In any case, this film definitely rattled me and I immediately texted my brother (who’s till a Catholic) to watch it. The ensemble cast were fantastic and it made the brilliant script came alive in that it’s engrossing and totally invested in the story. “These priests involved deserve to be castrated” Absolutely! It made me sad and angry to hear news day after day of the relentless coverup from all the way to the top in the Vatican.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeah I’ve had people tell me that its common knowledge, this isn’t a powerful film etc… but its still happening unchecked to this day. The true size and nature of it all is haunting to speculate about

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You wrote a great review even If I was no fan of it. One thing I usually hate about films like these is that the journalists are depicted as total saints where in real life, most of them are the complete opposite and Spotlight is no exception. This is just another film made to garner Oscar wins and nothing else. My favorite Journalistic expose film is Oliver Stone’s Salvador (1986) with James Woods. In that film, the lead actor is depicted as someone who is morally flawed. Anyway, keep up the great work as always and I left a reply to your comment regarding the Nicholas Roeg films 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • “… the journalists are depicted as total saints where in real life, most of them are the complete opposite”

      Hadn’t thought of it like that but you’re spot on, for the most part. There are a few honest journalists, and I think the Spotlight team must have been in that minority to uncover something so big and spend a year investigating it. But I get what you are saying; they all are depicted like saints, when I’m sure they had to twist some arms for information

      I need to watch some of Stone’s films. He’s done a bunch of films like that hasn’t he? I’ve only seen Natural born Killers haha, I’ll have to add Salvador to the list

      Like

  6. Amazing write-up Jordan. Spotlight is such an important film with a message that needs to be heard all over the world. It’s astounding just how wide-spread this issue is. I had a big discussion with someone at a dinner the other night who said that watching it brought up all manner of stories about priests and nuns at her Catholic primary school, and her remembering being told to avoid certain nuns and priests and at the time she was unsure why. It all makes sense in hindsight but the lack of protection for these children was and continues to be horrifying.

    And thank you for the shout-out! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is interesting what your friend said… that she was told to keep away from certain people. Creepy creepy creepy. And yeah, it is an important film, no question. I’ve had a couple of people say its not that important cos its already common knowledge… but it isn’t, at least not the depth of it, not to mention it is still happening to this day. Its especially bad in my city…. But of course no one wants to talk about it, can’t have important people in the public image being accused of molestation now can we? ugh makes me sick

      And no worries for the shout-out, that was a very interesting article. Cheers 🙂

      Like

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