Review of "Spotlight (DVD)"

published 21/05/2016 | catsholiday
Member since : 03/03/2003
Reviews : 1958
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About me :
Family and days of childminding now keeping me busy but I keep on rating more than writing. Thank you anyone who is kind enough to read then rate my reviews, especially those Es.
Pro Brilliant script, great acting - story well told
Cons A shame that there was this story to tell in the first place!
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""SPOTLIGHT" : "Break the story. Break the silence.""


The films on the All Nippon Air flight from London to Tokyo were the same on the return flight and there were not too many to choose from. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this film myself but my husband watched it and said it was really good so I followed his advice and did the same.


GENRE: Drama, History, Biography


LENGTH: 2Hr 8 min


DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy

WRITERS: Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy

STARRING: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

TAGLINE: “The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.”

~~~~~~ THE STORY ~~~~~~

Sadly this is a true story made into a docu story. It isn’t a documentary but the film tells the story of how the Boston Globe newspaper uncovered and exposed the horrendous scandal of long term child molestation and how for years the local Catholic Archdiocese covered this up and in fact the cover up went even further than just Boston and caused a huge wave of shock throughout the world and of course the entire Catholic Church.

~~~~~~~ MY VIEWS ~~~~~~~~

This is not the usual kind of film I chose to watch on a plane as it does require you to concentrate and listen closely and of course the subject matter is not exactly light and entertaining.

The film closely follows The Boston Globe's "Spotlight" team. This team is the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative unit in the United States. This investigation built up over many years and over the years the Globe had published a number of stories about these vile Catholic priests who took advantage of their position as ‘respectable’ members of the community systemically abuse huge numbers of young children in the Boston area.

This series of stories uncovered and published by the real Spotlight Team earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The prize citation read, "For its courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local, national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church."

The film has a genius screenplay that is acted to perfection and from the first few minutes you are hooked into the story. It feels like you are there as each story progresses and they discover more and more about the horror of the abuse. This was not one priest but many of a long time and the Catholic powers that be just moved these people on to another parish where they could obviously keep on doing the same thing somewhere new.

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer’s script with McCarthy’s direction along with the outstanding cast, the editor Tom McArdle, cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi and composer Howard Shore all work together to create an atmosphere of tension, frustration, determination and then the triumph of success as the film tells the story.

The acting by all was superb and Mark Ruffalo was particularly good. The ‘Spotlight’ team in this consists of Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Walter V. Robinson (Michael Keaton), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Martin "Marty" Baron (Leiv Schreiber), Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery), and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) . The film cleverly gives us a bit of background about the characters so we have some characterisation but cleverly the script focuses very much on the main story; the investigation and it keeps the viewer gripped to the end. It is hard to believe that this is a true story, in fact you would think it too horrific to be true If it was fiction but sadly it is not fiction.

Apart from the great script which kept the tension of story throughout and the fantastic acting the set was also spot on and authentic as the Boston Globe was very helpful with the set as well as approving the costume design, production design, actors, and script. Apparently Tom McCarthy told an interviewer that when the real reporters visited the set they straight away made their way to their ‘own’ desks and began to re arrange things on them as they would had them.

Both Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton spent time with the real people they were portraying in the film. Ruffalo got the real Michael Rezendes to say his lines for him. In each break so that he could get them right and do his character justice. The real Walter Robinson said that watching Michael Keaton, "It is like watching yourself in a mirror, yet having no control of the mirror image." In fact most of the actors worked closely with the real reporters and they in turn spent a lot of time on set giving their assistance and advice when asked.

The sound track fitted the film well and was a mixture of classical pieces and more modern songs but nothing really stood out as the story itself was so enthralling and that is what I was focused on, knowing what was going to happen next and when they would get these 90 odd abusive priests and expose them for what they did to those poor children for years.
As Mike Rezendes says in the film; ” They knew and they let it happen! It could've been you, it could've been me, it could've been any of us.”

I was happy that the film was investigation and focused on how they were going to get to expose these men and we didn’t have to hear too much about what they actually did or hear about individual victim stories as that would have been far too upsetting for the victims and would not have added to the story in any way. Most people would have had a pretty good idea of what they got up to and so we don’t need to have it rubbed in.
Interestingly the response from the Catholic church has been supportive as the fil made no attempt to sensationalise the events nor did it add any extra bits to make it more dramatic. Let’s face it the story was awful enough and needed no extra horrific input. In ‘LifeTeen’s’ Catholic movie review, by Sister Helena Burns she says Spotlight is “not a pseudo-documentary, nor is it juicy, sensational, exploitative entertainment. It is what I would call an ‘information film.’ The acting, too, is muted: none of the big name actors shine. The excellent cast seem to be humbly striving only to serve the story.”

I thought this was a brilliant film. Horrifying that it is a real story and I do suspect that there are still some Catholic priests still doing this kind of thing to vulnerable children. I think though that children these days are a little more likely to say something to another adult as there is so much taught in schools about saying ‘no’ if an adult does something you are not comfortable about, you think might be wrong or if they ask you to keep a secret that you don’t like. I hope so anyway.

~~~~~~~AWARDS AND REVIEWS ~~~~~~

At the 88th Academy Awards, Spotlight was up for six awards and won two Oscars. It won for Best Original Screenplay and for Best Picture.

‘Time Out’ London: Dave Calhoun
“It's a more subtle, damning film for implicating the media - as much as the church, the courts, the legal profession and other Boston institutions - in the systematic, wider cultural cover-up it describes.”

The Telegraph: Robbie Collin
“There's no tidy moral to take away, because a story like this shouldn't end in comfort. Instead, your skin's left prickling by its deft deconstruction of the business of secret-keeping, and its perceptive setting out of the courage and diligence it takes to overturn it.”

The Playlist: Jessica Kiang
“It's the best film McCarthy has ever made: restrained, intelligent and grown-up, but unfolding with the pacing and rhythm of a thriller.”

~~~~~~~~ RECOMMENDED ~~~~~~~~

Ys indeed. This is not a film to watch with the children, nor is it one to watch to cheer you up when feeling down. This film tells a horrifying and upsetting true story. It does not go into graphic detail about what happened to individuals but you do know. The horror is that there were so many of these sick paedophiles who were able to abuse so many children and get away with it because the Catholic church’s system just moved them somewhere else and did nothing to expose or sort out the sickness that was so widespread.

The story was well told and the acting really first rate. There was no glamour or gimmicks just a story well told.

Thanks for reading.

21st May 2016

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Comments on this review

  • NBCMad92 published 28/05/2016
    I really want to watch this film. E from me!
  • littleowlski published 27/05/2016
    Back with the E x
  • littleowlski published 25/05/2016
    Fantastic review. I've run out of Es so will have to come back x
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Product Information : Spotlight (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Classification: 15 years and over

Production Year: 2015

Actor(s): Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci

Director(s): Tom McCarthy

Video Category: Feature Film

EAN: 5030305520182


Listed on Ciao since: 23/04/2016