“Spotlight” dazzles thanks to brilliant script
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Very few films based on true events give a sense of thrill and intensity while retaining an accurate storyline. Many films tend to focus more on drama at the cost of the film’s accuracy and respect for the story being told. This is not the case with Tom McCarthy’s new film “Spotlight”.
“Spotlight” focuses on a team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe led by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and consists of reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James). This team reports to editors Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery) and Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber).
The Spotlight team catches wind of a story involving the church working to cover up sexual abuse committed by priests in Boston. The film follows the Spotlight team as its story on clergy sex abuse escalates. The film focuses on the pressure the reporters face as the church tries to impede their progress, as well as the emotional trauma the victims of clergy sex abuse live with.
One of the areas in which the movie truly shines is in its writing. Almost every scene is filled with detailed and impactful lines. The sensitive subject the film covers is handled with care and respect due to its well-written script. The movie covers a year’s worth of reporting in two hours. Despite this, viewers will still have a sense of the reporters’ full experience.
Journalism as a whole is not the most exhilarating topic. The fact that McCarthy and Josh Singer were able to write a script so full of intense and thrilling scenes makes it that much more impressive.
“Spotlight” also touches on the mistakes and missteps of the Globe, which adds a dramatic tone throughout the film.
Every scene is extremely detailed, which can lead the film to be difficult to follow. “Spotlight” is a movie that requires full attention to completely understand. This may leave some viewers confused as missing a beat could cause the missing of an important plot point. Some viewers may be kept from enjoying the film because of this, but most will be able to follow the thrilling plot.
The writing of the movie is made all the more perfect by its masterful delivery. The all-star cast portrays its roles in an accurate and very believable way. One role that truly stands out is Mark Ruffalo’s performance as Michael Rezendes. Throughout the movie, Ruffalo seems very tense and frenetic, which captures the stress the reporters faced during their investigation.
Another standout performance is by John Slattery as Ben Bradlee Jr., and he plays the role of the typical gruff and confident newspaper editor perfectly.
Although this movie treats the sensitive topic of the film with respect and care, this film touches on themes and effects of abuse. Although abuse is not shown, it is discussed openly on several occasions. The movie also discusses suicide and drug abuse. Those very sensitive to these topics may want to avoid this film.
Overall, “Spotlight” is a masterfully written and well-acted film. It is filled with intense and thrilling scenes. Almost every line is treated with care and detail. The movie may be hard to follow at times, but this should not take away from those who give their attention to the film. Those who are not sensitive to the movies themes will be treated to an all-around exciting and fantastic experience.
–Nov. 6, 2015–
Aidan Sullivan is a member of the Raider Times staff.