Spotlight Review

By Craig Wright

Once in a while, you come across a film where the story and the cast are both outstanding. This year, that film is Spotlight.

One of the frontrunners for this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture, Spotlight charts the work of the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team as they look to expose child abuse by Catholic priests in the city. The team go about their work despite the obstruction of lawyers, the church and the views of the Boston community, resulting in the publication of one of the most important pieces of journalism in recent years.

Written by Tom McCarthy, the plot is perfectly paced. Yes, the film is a shade over two hours long, but the events of the story continue to ensure that the audience’s interest is maintained throughout. The use of figures and numbers, whilst liberally scattered amongst the cast’s dialogue, is also measured – there is a fine balance between conveying the true scale of the atrocity and becoming overly obsessed with figures, one which McCarthy manages to achieve perfectly.

However, it’s the cast that makes this film as great as it is. With a main cast boasting Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Live Schreiber, it would have been harder to make this film a flop than help it to succeed. Ruffalo and McAdams have both been nominated for Oscars for their performances and rightly so. Ruffalo delivers a performance full of charisma and passion, whilst McAdams offers the sympathetic angle to survivors of abuse. In addition, the perennially marvellous Stanley Tucci plays a key role in the plot whilst embodying an eccentric yet driven lawyer – another excellent performance in an excellent film.

With awards season in full swing, Spotlight can, should and will be one of the major frontrunners on Oscars night. An excellent cast, a great story and rightly deserving of its hype, the efforts of Keaton, Ruffalo and co. will rightly be under the spotlight on the film industry’s biggest night of the year.

For more films and shows like Spotlight, check out the Macrobert Arts Centre’s website.

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