by | Nov 6, 2015 | 0 comments

One of the Best Films of the Year, and One of the Best Journalistic Movies of All Time

There has been a constant debate about the duration of films. Some find that the shorter the film the higher enjoyment and quality, others argue the opposite, that with more time there is more room for character development and the like. In the end no side is really right, but they aren’t wrong either. Spotlight is a film that can be considered long, but this was a good type of long, a long that allows one to see the actual lives and pacing of the journalistic career; in more than one way it reminded me of the quality and size of All the Presidents Men.

Spotlight is the true story of the uncovering of a huge child molesting scandal involving the Catholic Church in Boston in 2002 by the Boston Globe. The title comes from the special “task force” in the Globe that specializes on long and arduous special reports. The Spotlight group is made up of editor Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and his reporters: Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). A new editor has been brought in to head the Globe; he is a complete outsider coming from Miami (everyone at the paper is from Boston or has lived there for a long while); this new editor, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), is shy at first, but is a smart guy and soon puts Spotlight in charge of the suspicious case of a priest and a child in the 70s. As the reporters dig deeper they story grows and grows to the proportions that made it so famous today.

The film is incredibly calculated to properly portray not only the real-life story that is being told and reported, but also on the life of a journalist. We see how it strains relationships, be it from working to hard or from pushing friends for information. It is also convincing portraying the empty beginning that every story starts out with, where the reporter feels like he is never going to get anywhere. Because of these analyses and immersions into the lives of our characters, it might seem to be a slow pace for the liking of most people. However, this can’t be held against the film as it purposefully does it, and really the real art in this film is in this pacing. It doesn’t seem like an eternal four-hour epic, but it doesn’t seem like a rushed story showing only the highlights either, it does find a sense of balance.

However, the attention to the minutiae isn’t addressed only behind the camera. The entire cast pulls off incredible performances, some of which I don’t think anyone expected. I’m going to start off with Mark Ruffalo. Ruffalo has been amazing me with every film that he has had out, he simply has no limit to what he can play. He can play a conflicted superhero in The Avengers, he can play a drunken music producer in Begin Again, he can play a lovingly warm father and brother in Foxcatcher, he can play a rebellious homosexual in Normal Heart, and here in Spotlight he plays the zappy workaholic (with a bonus accent). I think it would be extremely safe to say that he is becoming one of America’s greatest actors. Then we had Liev Schreiber who has been used to playing the tough guy in films such as X-Men: Origins and in shows such as Ray Donovan; in fact I hadn’t really seen him play on a different tone, but here he gives his Marty an incredibly timid yet intelligent façade that makes you scratch your head thinking, “is that really the guy in Ray Donovan?” It’s a performance that will certainly make him be seen under a different spotlight (pun intended). As for Keaton and McAdams they were both extremely solid. Both of their careers have steered towards more serious films, which in turn have produced some of their best performances of their careers.

In the end this is an incredibly professional film that makes you appreciate not only the journalistic aspect of it, but the cinematic one as well. It is filled with some of the best performances of the year, and it is safe to say this will be one of the best journalistic movies of all time.





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