Sunday, 14 August 2016
The Boston Globe is slowly declining, with numerous staff members leaving for other newspapers. Trying to overturn this trend, the new editor Marty gives the "Spotlight" team a new assignment: to investigate the accusation of paedophilia among the ranks of priests and the church cover-up. The team, consisting out of Robby, Sacha, Michael, Ben and Matt discover that 13 priests were accused of molesting children, but that the church did nothing to stop it, It soon appears that actually 87 priests were involved in unreported cases in the area. 9/11 overshadows their assignment, but the team get back on their job, obtain the suppressed documents and then publish the story in the newspaper.
"Spotlight" was recognized with several awards and nominations, and is an honest and correct biopic about exposing the paedophilia cases around the Boston area, though its 'social issue theme' is more heightened than its own film quality. Such themes should be made into movies, yet as with most political movies, there is not much room for innovation or dazzling style as to not 'interfere' with the delicate topic, and thus it is not very cinematic: "Spotlight" works better as a newspaper article than as a movie, with several sequences of journalist investigation ending up almost as schematic and grey as some Power-Point presentation. Luckily, the level 'twitches' from that state and ignites somewhat more in the second half, starting from a very intriguing scene in the office, where the editor asks the two reporters how much longer it will take for them to finally publish the story, upon which Robby (great Michael Keaton) uncomfortably shrugs, says: "Too long" and then simply walks out. Robby, Marty and Michael are the only characters who are at least somewhat portrayed, while Sacha, Ben and Matt are just presented as mere extras, and thus this one-dimensional approach at characters makes the whole film somewhat restrained and bellow of what it could have been, given the ambitious setting. Overall, a good, though standard investigative drama, that does not have that ingenuity or suspense of its role model, Pakula's classic "All the President's Men".