Review: Spotlight

By Christian DiMartino

The Oscar race is heating up quick, though if I had to take a guess at what was going to take home the top prize, I would say that Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight certainly has it down, and with good reason. I hear the term “masterpiece” thrown around quite a lot these days. Spotlight earns such a title.

Here is a film that triumphs in so many ways, it is nearly difficult to pinpoint where to start. I could mention its impeccable writing, directing, acting, and storytelling, but yet it goes deeper than that. Spotlight is a film that hits all of the right notes, and in doing so, it makes for probably the best film of its kind since All of the President’s Men.

The film takes place in Boston, 2001. Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber), formerly from Miami, arrives at The Boston Globe. During an editor’s meeting, he points out the fact that a story involving the child molestation doesn’t seem covered enough.

Thus, bringing in the Spotlight crew (played by Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d’Arcy James) to cover the story. The rest of the film follows this group’s mission to uncover the story.

I am not describing it well, mostly because it is a film that one truly just needs to witness for themselves. This is a shocking, and somewhat disturbing film that will leave you pondering and talking long after it is over.

During the first 20 minutes, I was enjoying what I was watching, but I wanted more. I could smell a great movie, but it hadn’t arrived yet. Then with the blink of an eye, it did.

One must admire a film in which the most suspenseful moments are conversations. But that is the beauty of McCarthy’s direction. Every scene is utterly riveting, and uncovering the mystery at hand is more and more intriguing as the film goes along. The screenplay by McCarthy and Josh Singer puts the tension on full blast. This is one that you won’t be able to shake off easily.

It is difficult to choose just who has the best performance here, because each and every performance is strong. Whether it be the lead actors, or the secondary characters. But this is one of those rare films in which even the secondary characters leave an impact.

The film includes some of the most powerful scenes you will see all year, particularly the scenes involving the victims. For a film that mostly consists of talking, its power is hard to believe.

The film is as bold and brave as the heroes at play. As an aspiring journalist, I found the ambition of these characters something to truly admire. This is also just an accurate depiction of journalism, and nearly every scene feels authentic and true.

Please, I implore you, find this film. It is a great true story that tells a true story that certainly deserved to be told. Expect this to be a major winner at the Academy Awards in February.

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