Monday, April 3, 2017

1027. Spotlight

Directed by Tom McCarthy

I have finally gotten around to finishing my Best Picture series.  I am not sure how I will organize the next few entries, but I am sure a weak theme is forthcoming.

Spotlight is the true story of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team uncovering the child abuse scandal and cover up that took place in the local Catholic Archdiocese.  I had the statistic before and it still always shocks me: five percent of Catholic priests have been involved in "incidents" with children.  That completely blows my mind, as it should.

Obviously, the content of this film is so compelling and disturbing that it is hard for me to focus on the more technical aspects of the movie.  I am not sure they did anything particularly new with the genre; it was almost like they were too afraid to break out of the All the President's Men mold.  I enjoyed the format (i.e. showing the more mundane aspects of a reporter's life, documentary style, not making the reporters out to be saintly heroes, etc) especially since I work at a newsroom (and have witnessed many Ruffalo-esque meltdowns). Like I said, though, none of this is new.

Still, this is a story that needs to be told and the content is more important than the style anyway.  Recommended.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Did anyone else notice Michael Keaton pulling into a handicap space at the end?  What a dick.

During the breaks from filming, Mark Ruffalo would ask the real Michael Rezendes to say all his lines for him.

Most of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the scandal were Roman Catholic.

Click here to see Stephen Fry's condemnation of the Catholic Church.  If you can watch this without tearing up, you are stronger than me!


  1. Wow, I didn't notice the Michael Keaton's scene, you've got a sharper eye than mine. I will have to check it out.

    I like the realistic approach of the reporter's work. As I watched this film before All the President's Men, I did find it original. Anyway, as you say, the story is more important than the style. I think I have already said that my own town is at the Wall of Shame at the end. Our case has been famous nationally because the Pope himself has been "trying" to process the culprints. However, in all likelihood they are going to be found not guilty due to the stupid statutes of limitations (do they actually pretend that a child denounces this in less than 10 years??).

    Anyway, good article, I didn't know you work in the news! That sounds exciting!

    1. The statutes of limitation thing is insane. And thank you! It can be, if no one is screaming at you haha.

  2. Excellent review as always Amanda. As a former Catholic, I cannot watch this because I am so disgusted by the church. Thank you for watching it and telling us about it!

  3. Thanks for the link Amanda.. Great one.

    1. Are you a Christopher Hitchens fan?

    2. Sorry Amanda, I've only just seen this comment / question, so apologies for seeming to Ignore it. No, I'm not. Mainly because I've not really read any of his stuff, just what people have said hes' said, and reactions to him, but partly because I don't take the periodicals he writes in.
      I know he used to be quite a lefty, but (I stand willing to be corrected on this) from the Socialist Workers Party / International Socialist groupings who are way to my sort of leftism (What, in his days, were called, (with perhaps some justification) the 'loony left'). Although stemming from very valid and laudable causes, popular in the late 60s / early seventies (anti Vietnam war, CND etc) they had a habit of latching onto anything that could be seen as in any way anti establishment, anti American.. So they would side with some dodgy liberation / terrorist (you choose which one to use) movements such as the IRA, Qaddafi's Libya, purely because those movement were, or could be seen as, anti. Anti anything.
      And later he dramatically switched sides, became rather reactionary conservative, and wrote for such things as New Statesman.
      I believe he is known for his atheist views, but I don't know about that
      A small edit here.. I just looked him up on Wiki.. and I see he held a professorship at Pittsburgh uni.. and that he argued religion against Anne Widdicombe with Stephen Fry, so I see where your question came from.

    3. I read God is Not Great, which was good. As a friend said, "It's the book I wish I'd been reading when I read The God Delusion". Interestingly, his brother Peter later wrote a book arguing against it, which is sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read one day.

      I found he was one of those people who would stretch your mind with interesting thoughts and ideas that went against conventional thinking, but seemed sometimes to be more motivated by that contrariness rather than necessarily being right.

  4. On a similar note, I've just watched Philomena, the true story of a mother searching for her son whom she was forced to give up for adoption by the Catholic church. Very, very good.

    Spotlight is a good 4-star movie. I note that this is the number of stars you have given it, and how good it be accorded any more or less? It almost feels like they set out to make a faultless 4-star piece. So you will find no criticism of the film itself from me. But in terms of whether it deserved to win Best Picture, it does feel like yet another example of the safe, steady film taking the statuette home rather than something exciting that could have been three or five stars, depending upon your point of view.

    1. Well said Dessie. Definitely the safe choice.