director: Tom McCarthy
writer: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer
starring: Michael Keaton, Rachael McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Mark Ruffalo
genre: Biopic | Drama
released: 6 November 2015 (U.S.A.), 28 January 2016 (Australia), 25 February 2016 (Germany & Greece)
There are many injustices in the world and sometimes it takes too long for light to be shed on them. Worst of all is when they are committed and then swept under the rug by the so called most moral and spiritual of individuals in society. One such case that was brought to the forefront, was by the great journalists at "Spotlight". That knew that it wasn't just a few bad apples and that at some point somebody had to step up and go against the tide.
In 2001, the newspaper the Boston Globe was going through some internal changes. First with its hiring of a new editor out of Miami, eager to shuffle things around and put manpower in what he thought was a story not getting enough coverage. Which was the molestation case of a young child by a Catholic priest. This led to the Globe's investigative team Spotlight to look into the allegations and how far they reached. It so happens they went right to the top and many hadn't even batted an eye over it.
When it comes to biopics, stories about particular events, investigations or court cases. They are different approaches that work to the material's advantage, to the filmmakers style and to emphasize on certain events rather than others. Sometimes this also doesn't work, as we see a film about a particular figure and it seems as if we didn't get to know enough about what they did, or a biopic where the story was good for only that span of time, but still didn't tell the whole story. Here the film deals only with the story of the journalist team of Spotlight and their uncovering of the dark and systematic cover up by the Catholic Church on pedophiles under their watch. Contributing to a streamlined experience that is focused, precise and informative on the objective duties these group of journalists had.
Furthermore, the film doesn't annoy or supplement us with subplots about what these people were dealing with on a personal level, as that wasn't important. The film wasn't ever to be about their lives, but about their jobs. About uncovering the truth, not about romantic entanglements or what have you. It only went to the extent on and how if their findings made them feel any different about the church and their faith on a personal and spiritual level. While also how they dealt with the dark information they knew for so long, when it came to loved ones not being aware or other members of the general public.
Moreover, the film isn't also a pristine view on the people who ran the investigation. As with every problem in society it usually takes too long to uncover it and an outsider to usually point it out. With too many people that just didn't take notice to the problem or were comfortable with the status quo and the film isn't shy about mentioning who and how.
As a whole the film brings up all the issues from the scandal that we could ask for and delivers the investigation from beginning to end with immaculate detail. With performances that are all grounded, with none of the actors overacting or trying to steal the show. Everything just feels natural, from how the investigation progresses, to the tips they receive and even when Ruffalo's character has his one breakout scene. It makes complete sense, as one person from the group needed to lash out with anger, over the issue and the inability of good and honest people to act.
Additionally, the character intimacy with the events and choices to go against their interests because of the duty they had is remarkable, while also the time taken to get to the very end of their investigation was well worth it. Not only for the victims to get some form of justice, but also for people of the community and of the world not be so naive about the corruption of power, the devious minds of people around us and where that may come from. We have to be vigilant, concerned and informed individuals, while also not foolish when it comes to our youth's safety and the special interests we all play to.
The one job this film had to do was to show that there was a problem that needed to be exposed, investigated thoroughly and that the level of corruption was unforgivable. And it did it with flying colors.