ACTORS – Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo,Rachel McAdams
DIRECTOR -Tom McCarthy
Spotlight is now showing at the Garden City Cinema in welwyn Garde City, Hertfordshire.
Spotlight is based on true events and tells the story of a group of journalists who discover a cover up of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church.
The film starts in the 1970’s where we see that a priest has been arrested on suspicion of child molestation sitting in a cell. Next we see another priest sitting with the mother of the abused children and he’s telling her how important the church is to the community, he promises her his full support and assures her this will never
This first scene tell us so much by saying very little and that’s how the whole film operates. We then jump to 2002 and the offices of Boston newspaper The Globe.
Walter Robinson played by Michael Keaton (TEAM KEATON!) heads a team of investigative journalists for a part of The Globe called Spotlight. They typically expose big stories and can take up to a year to get their story right and ready for publication.
Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are also part of the team. Ruffalo as Mike Rezendes is interesting to watch, he does a great job of playing a somewhat squirrely and excitable guy, not your typical Ruffalo role.
Rachel McAdams does a good job although I think she could have been given more. Her character Sacha Pfeiffer struggles with the impact the story she’s working on is going to have on her grandmother, an eldery 3 times a week church goer. This story is going to break her heart and Sacha wants to protect her grandmother from it but it’s never really given the time it needed to provoke a conversation between the two.
The team pull out all the stops to try the historic and systemic abuse of children by priests in Boston and the subsequent cover up by the church.
What’s made perfectly clear is that the church knew exactly what these priests were doing and instead of removing them from the church or contacting the police, these priests that abused 100’s of young boys and girls are quietly moved to a new church in another area, free to commit abuse again and again.
What’s also clear is how much power the church has over Boston, they have made themselves an untouchable superpower. the victims of these prieststell a sad tale and there’s the implication is that the kid’s families knew what was going on but as is often said in the film, a priest was like God and when God takes an interest in your child, you turn the other way.
Sex abuse within the Catholice church is not new ground but it is important because, little has changed. What Spotlight does is not focus on the priests themselves but on the deception that allowed preists to continue their abuses. It could have been so easy for this to be sensationalist film but it isn’t, it’s subtle, nuanced and gripping.
Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Brian d’Arcy James all put in good performances and I liked that the film’s look was very pale, not flashy, not throwing its budget in your face, it was all so that the story would shine through, which is does.
I liked Spotlight for the same reason I love Zodiac (2007) It’s the drawn out investgation, the small things that can make a big impact both in terms of the information you get and the information that slips through your fingers. The frustration, the passion and the forensics if you will of it all.
It sounds a little inappropriate, considering the content of the film but I really enjoyed Spotlight and I urge you to go see it.
To book tickets to see Spotlight at the Garden City Cinema in Welwyn Garden City click HERE
P.S This film reminded me of a documentary I watched in Netflix a while ago, might still be up there. It’s called Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. It’s a disturbing, heartbreaking documentary that deals with similar content and it’s a eye opener!
A Shared Madness