Recently I reviewed the 2014 Jake Gyllenhaal film Nightcrawler, which portrayed modern day journalism in a very negative light. I see the newest film I’ve decided to review, Spotlight, as somewhat of an antithesis to Nightcrawler. At least, in the theme department. While journalistic integrity can be hard at times to maintain (especially when you support an unpopular idea), at the end of the day it is always best to do the right thing and speak your mind.
Spotlight is a true story based on a team of writers (who are called ‘Spotlight’) for The Boston Globe. They are investigative journalists who work to shed light on important issues mostly unknown to the public. Our film starts when Spotlight decides to investigate cases of child sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area. What Spotlight ends up finding may even be more shocking than what they anticipated. The members of the Spotlight team includes such talents as Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams.
The narrative of Spotlight is remarkably well written and has lots of twists and turns. Our protagonists come across many twists and turns during the film, all of which come as a surprise to the audience as well. Even though Spotlight was based on events that happened over a decade ago, I still had no idea where the film was going to go. With every new revelation our characters had, the more I felt invested with the story.
I would also like to note just how well Spotlight was acted, because the performances in it were amazing. Everything was portrayed in a very realistic manner. None of the characters behaved in ways that had me questioning my suspension of disbelief. Michael Keaton wasn’t Batman, he was an investigative journalist trying to do his job the best way he knew how. Overall the performances in Spotlight were great and were one of the best parts about the film.
There were only a few scenes during Spotlight that tended to be a bit boring. The majority of the film I was intently watching and anticipating what would happen. I felt very invested in our protagonists and really wanted to see them succeed at shedding light on such an important issue.
Spotlight made me feel all kinds of feelings, ranging from sad, to mad, to utter shock and disappointment. I feel this is a very tragic film, and knowing that many of these events actually took place is disheartening. I think one of the characters in the film said it best; that these molestations robbed many children of their religion. Spotlight knows just how to make the audience emotional in all the necessary and effective ways.
Spotlight is a film that I would recommend people to go watch. It deals with some heavy material in a very mature manner. The film itself is very successful on a visual level, but really triumphs in its ability to tell such a compelling narrative. I hope to see gripping dramas like it in the future.
The Verdict: A-