Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Film Review: "Spotlight" (2015).

Taglines such as "The true story behind the scandal that shook the world" and "Break the story. Break the silence" is what sums up the incredible story that is Spotlight. This biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. The film follows The Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic Priests. It is based on a series of stories by the real Spotlight Team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Just like the journalists in the film, the filmmakers had a difficult road of bringing this extraordinary story to the screen. The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2013 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year. Singer told Creative Screenwriting that one of his goals for the film was to highlight the power of journalism, which he feels has been waning. The film is described as in the vein of the classic journalism pic All the President's Men (1976). McCarthy cited The Verdict (1982) and Sidney Lumet's style direction in that film as influence of this project. As well as Broadcast News (1987), Network (1976), The Killing Fields (1984), The Insider (1999), Citizen Kane (1941), Ace in the Hole (1951), JFK (1991) and Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). Principal photography began on September 24, 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts and continued in October in Hamilton, Ontario. The Boston locations included Fenway Park, The Boston Globe offices in Dorchester, Boston, and the Boston Public Library. During an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air", director Tom McCarthy said many of the actors reached out to meet the reporters depicted in the movie shortly after agreeing to make the movie, and that many of the reporters spent a considerable amount of time on set during filming. In addition, The Boston Globe was also very helpful with the set and approved the costume design, production design and the script.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d'Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup. The cast gave terrific performances with each performer capturing the soul and determination of each reporter involved in the outrageous story.

A taut, solidly acted paean to the power of investigative journalism and the dangers of a corrupt system, made all the more effective in this real-life event inspired story. Spotlight is not just about the evils of the Catholic Church, but about the process by which the Spotlight team eventually brought about their corrupt system. It is like a morality play, from which we learn how journalists should behave. It shows the team as fearless. The film is so important, because it's about things that are really vital today, like the responsibility of the press and examining the press' role in forming opinion.

Simon says Spotlight receives:

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