**** OUT OF 4
Director Tom McCarthy ((“The Station Agent”, “The Visitor”) has created a stunning and engrossingly detailed account of The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer-Prize winning investigation of pervasive pedophilia within the Catholic Church. Modeled in many ways like the iconic film “All the President’s Men” this journalistic procedural is one of the short-list contenders for Best Picture Oscar.
McCarthy wrote the script with Josh Singer (“Fifth Estate”) and they meticulously crafted as truthful a telling of events as possible. The title of the film refers to the Globe’s investigative team of journalists with Michael Keaton pitch perfect as Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, a hard-ass who insisted on the best work from his reporters Michael Rezendes(a terrific Mark Ruffalo) and Sacha Pfeiffer(Rachel McAdams)and researcher Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James).
The lightning rod which sparked Spotlight into action on this story was the paper’s top new editor Marty Baron (a no bullshit Liev Schreiber) a Jewish Floridian who detects a conspiracy. What makes the film jump off the screen is that the ensemble of actors mirrored the real reporters and duplicated their behavior. The degree of verisimilitude is astounding as Carroll digs into sealed records of priests whose crimes are covered up. Political and legal systems are shown to be corrupted by a network of silence with the lawyers working hand and hand with the Catholic Church. All of this builds to a thrilling detective story as reporters struggle to get the truth out to the public. What is made clear is that a free and vibrant press will help rid our society of its evil tendencies.
Producton values are first rate. One must recognize the outstanding contribution made by cameraman Masanobu Takayanagi whose peripatetic lensing brought real life to the screen. A must-see motion picture!