Posted Jan 27 2016

Spotlight - This Movie Paedo Rocks (in A Good Way)

Dir: Tom McCarthy

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci

It’s unusual that a director delivers by far his worst film and by far his best in a matter of months. But that’s what Tom McCarthy has just managed. Whilst the man should still be – rightly – smarting from his really rather completely misjudged Adam Sander vehicle The Cobbler, he has bounced backed very impressively with Spotlight, the tale of a ground-breaking investigation by the Boston Globe in 2001 nto allegations of child abuse against the Catholic church.

Armed with a fabulous ensemble cast, McCarthy adopts an almost forensic approach to the journalistic ins and outs of the true-life case, one that was assigned to the paper’s “Spotlight” tram, an elite group of journos put in place to realise such controversial and difficult stories. It’s a movie that seeks to re-present the honourable nature of the fourth estate, but one which smartly never chooses to paint its central characters as simple crusaders, and which certainly never puts their work above the importance of the victims of these crimes or the bringing of these crimes to light.

Everyone in its main cast does sterling work here, to the point where it’s almost impossible (and intentionally so on McCarthy’s part) to single anyone out. The film manages to grip in its details, and their slow uncovering of same more than it does in any showier histrionics (although inevitably a handful of crusading reporter clichés are touched upon.) As such, a clear cinematic antecedent would be All The President’s Men. But while Spotlight clearly acknowledges that, its decidedly forensic approach means this lacks some of the more overt passion and power of that earlier film.

But this is still hugely engrossing, brilliantly played and shows McCarthy, after his recent stumble, really letting us know what he’s capable of. And, more than anything, it’s end credit list of all the cases this one story subsequently led to is what’s really worth applauding here.


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