Priest/child sex abuse doc ‘Spotlight’ is riveting from start to finish

It took some time but I finally watched the film Spotlight which took home the coveted Best Picture Award at the 2016 Academy Awards together with Best Original Screenplay. The two Oscars, out of six nominations, were part of a litany of accolades and awards the film received and I must say they were all very much deserved. Spotlight is a gripping masterpiece of a movie.

Riveting plot

Intense meeting
Intense meeting

Spotlight recounts the story of the eponymous “The Boston Globe” investigative team in 2001 and their uncovering of systemic child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area. The team won a Pultizer Prize for Public Service in 2003.

From the first scene to the last I was pulled into the story and 100 per cent invested. As the avid and passionate journalists dug deeper and deeper into the scandal and unravel each thread it was like watching a mystery brilliantly unfold.

The scenes set at the Globe were a great insight into the inner workings of the team and a special pleasure for me as a journalist by profession. But the highlight was the interviews with the sex abuse victims which were intense, touching and heart wrenching. And to know that these events actually happened makes the impact that much more powerful. I was affected by the reports of child sex abuse, both qualitative and quantitative, and wanted to see justice done in the end.

Perfect performances

Keaton and McAdams shine in this film
Keaton and McAdams shine in this film

Though perfect can be an overused adjective I can find no better word to describe the cast of this film. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James are fantastic as the driven journalists, Michael Keaton is brilliant as the Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (more of Keaton please), Liev Schreiber is understated but poignant as new editor Marty Baron, Stanley Tucci is great as impassioned attorney Mitchell Garabedian and Billy Crudup is a revelation as unethical attorney Eric MacLeish. Everyone brings their A+ game here and no one drops the ball.

Balanced treatment 

A very sensitive subject
A very sensitive subject

You don’t get a much more touchy subject than child sex abuse by priests. But I must commend co-writer and director Tom McCarthy for presenting the subject matter in a balanced and measured fashion. The abuse is never played down or glossed over but presented in a raw, realistic fashion. And while the protection of pedophile priests is presented in a negative light (and rightly so) the Roman Catholic church itself is not unnecessarily demonised.

The real life Spotlight investigation led to further investigations around the world as well as many victims coming forward. And the message that child sexual abuse and its perpetrators, especially trusted religious figures, should never be protected or hidden at the expense of past and potential future victims is one that should never be forgotten.

Rating – Spotlight gets a well deserved 4/4. 

So have you seen Spotlight? What did you think of it? Feel free to comment below.

For the rest of my Oscars 2016 recap you can check out my review of drama Room here, my review of Rocky spin-off Creed here and my review of The Revenant here. And for more Oscar-worthy movie reviews you can follow me on this site or on Twitter @suprememango012 for updates. Julien is outie like a navel. l8rs