A sub-team of the Boston Globe named Spotlight are tasked by their new editor in chief (Live Schreiber) with an investigation into child molestation claims aimed at a number of Catholic priests within Boston. However when they start to dig they realise that this is a far larger problem than any of them had thought.
Spotlight is currently the bookies’ favourite to walk away with the Oscar for best picture, and while it is clearly very good I don’t know if it’s that good. It’s a film that deals with a very sensitive subject matter, and generally it deals with said matter with subtlety and great care. There are a few missteps in this department but on the whole it handles it well. Spotlight’s main selling point is the performances though. With an all-star cast, all of which are performing at the top of their game.
Spotlight tells a story that is very important and interesting. I never got bored while watching because I liked the characters and I wanted to find out what happened because this isn’t an even I’m particularly aware of. I know of the parallels with the English issues with the same problem, but I didn’t know about the scale of the atrocity. However I think the film could have possibly done with a more in depth look into the reason the paper initially threw this story away, and had a more satirical look at the media. This doesn’t necessarily hold the film back, but I think it would make it better.
The performances here are universally wonderful. Michael Keaton is probably what you’d call the main character, but the film doesn’t really follow any one character’s story. The stand outs for me were of course Keaton, Ruffalo and Tucci. But my favourite of the lot was Liev Schreiber who has quite a small role overall in the film but is absolutely impeccable. It’s not a headline grabbing role as Schreiber plays a man of very few words, relying on the smallest of facial expressions and the slightest sigh or action. He deserves more plaudits than he is going to get.
I thought occasionally the film gets the tone wrong. I felt that sometimes it went far too sentimental, while most of the film had been pretty straight faced and honest. There is one scene in particular that plays a child’s choir of silent night in the background, and I found that it left a bad taste in my mouth. Another problem I had was the soundtrack, it feels lacklustre and like it was just shoved in at the last minute. This is a real shame and it prevents Spotlight from truly hitting the heights it otherwise might.
Overall, Spotlight is a very good film. It’s just not spectacular.