DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy
RELEASE DATE: 11/06/2015
STARRING: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams,
Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James,
and Stanley Tucci.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “Mark Ruffalo with a Boston accent had me in tears.”
Spotlight, the latest from director Tom McCarthy about The Boston Globe reporters who broke the Catholic priest abuse scandal, has a lot going for it. But by far the standout is the acting. I have never seen as many rock solid performances in a single movie as I did in Spotlight. Everyone from the reporters all the way down to the victims and the wife of a minor character who has a handful of lines were believable, strong, honest, and perfectly on point for two hours. The pinnacle is Mark Ruffalo. Stunned at the decision of his boss (played by Michael Keaton), he absolutely loses it in a scene that may be the most powerful two minutes of any movie in the last year. If you like movies with an ensemble cast at the top of their game this is the one to see.
Need more than that? In the current era of 9 sequel franchises and endless reboots we are left with a severe lack of important movies these days. Not this week. Spotlight is the “story about the story” yes, but unlike others of it’s kind it tells the underlying story just as well. It does this even better than a straight up movie about the abuse scandal could have. It’s something of a master stroke by Mr. McCarthy. Seeing the characters react to the stunning and unbelievable magnitude of what they are uncovering is powerful. We know what’s coming but we’re still along for the ride the whole way. Sitting in the theater, mouth agape, knowing the story, but feeling it for the first time. If you enjoy movies that have something to say and don’t have a problem saying it…see this movie.
More? Oh, right, there is the actual scandal. This can be a hard movie to watch regardless of how you were raised. What happened was horrific. Lives derailed. And with a short scene of Rachel McAdams scribbling frantically through the shock of an impromptu interview we get a glimpse of how deep the dysfunction must run to arrive at a point where your priests are abusing children. Importantly, the movie unfolds without a hint of moralizing that would have been easy to let slip in but would have weakened the movie substantially. There is no preaching. There is no need for it. All that was needed was to tell the story well, without hype or exaggeration. What is revealed speaks for itself.
Spotlight was an important movie to make, firmly executed, and I think you should see it.