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Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: drinkanddestroy on March 08, 2016, 04:30:08 PM

Title: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 08, 2016, 04:30:08 PM
The Best Picture Oscar winner.

Will try to copy earlier posts on this movie from other threads, when I have a chance. We have discussed this a lot in the Oscars thread and in THE REVENANT thread, and in RTLMYS
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: Groggy on March 09, 2016, 08:49:07 AM
I'll start by reposting my review. I rewatched it the other day and my opinion's basically unchanged.

Modern journalism has a bad name, which Tom McCarthy's Spotlight (2015) seeks to correct. Based on the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of priestly sexual abuse, the movie's faith in the Fourth Estate seems almost quaint. Nonetheless, Spotlight powerfully explores an issue that won't disappear; whether priests, football coaches or fast food spokesmen, it's tragically perennial.

In summer 2001, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) takes over as editor of the Boston Globe. Intrigued by attorney Mitchell Garabedian's (Stanley Tucci) actions against disgraced priest John Geoghan, Baron assigns the Spotlight team - Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), Mike Rezendes (Mark Rufalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), Mark Carroll (Bryan D'Arcy James) - to investigate broader allegations of abuse. The team discovers that the cover-up includes city authorities and Church officials including Cardinal Law (Len Cariou), who knowingly sheltered and reassigned abusive priests.

 Reviewers invariably evoke All the President's Men, and Spotlight certainly mirrors that classic in McCarthy's subtly stylish direction (long takes, medium shots, clipped editing) and even specific set pieces (Rezendes sneaking past a secretary to interview someone). He also borrows Alan J. Pakula's method of paring interviews and exposition into terse, digestible chunks; the presence of Ben Bradlee, Jr. (John Slattery) doesn't hurt. Spotlight covers a complex topic as thoroughly as a two hour movie possibly can.

Without demonizing individuals, McCarthy and cowriter Josh Singer probe Boston's culture of silence. The Catholic Church expects compliance with its diktats, obscuring scandal with euphemisms, sealed documents and harassment of critics. Garabedian's investigation provoke action to disbar him, while Robinson receives veiled threats from Catholic friends. Police decline to arrest priests while civic authorities help cover up. Cardinal Law states that he expects Boston's institutions to cooperate with each other, even if it means condoning evil.

 McCarthy contrasts the reporters' efforts with the victims' agony. Neal Huff plays Paul Saviano, a victim's advocate whose clients provide Spotlight's core. They describe the importance of priestly attention to down-and-out kids, even when extending to sexual favors. The journalists wrestle with the implications. When Robinson asks a source if thirteen priests are likely, he's told by a source that the number's closer to ninety, quickly confirmed. Yet Robinson declines Rezendes' urging to run individual stories without a broader context, while other papers threaten to scoop the Globe.

 If Spotlight errs in highlighting the reporters, it's because they have a personal stake. Robinson attended a high school victimized by one priest; Rezendes wrestles with his shaky faith; Pfeiffer fears for her devout grandmother (Eileen Padua). Worse, Carroll discovers a shelter for disgraced priests just down the block. None of our heroes have much personal life (Rezendes is a workaholic, Carrol has kids, Pfeiffer a barely-glimpsed husband) yet their varying reactions ensure they register individually.

In one respect, Spotlight's murkier than All the President's Men, or even The Insider's conflict between journalism and corporate prerogative. When a lawyer (Billy Crudup) seems reluctant to cooperate, he complains that he did contact the Globe ten years prior - and they ignored him. Some of this is inevitable (9/11 delays their investigation for months), but mostly it's laziness or bad judgment. All the pieces were present, but ignored or filed away, making the Globe unwittingly complicit. Perhaps it took Baron, a Jewish Floridian, to cut through Boston's small-town complacency.

Spotlight benefits from flawless ensemble acting. Michael Keaton's tough-minded characterization is worlds apart from Birdman's manic self-effacement. Mark Ruffalo gets the emotional speeches, well-matched by Rachel McAdams' quiet, probing empathy and Brian D'Arcy James's intellectual doggedness. Stanley Tucci's cynical but sincere lawyer makes the strongest impression. Liev Schreiber and John Slattery play Globe editors; Len Cariou makes a disarming Cardinal Law.

Spotlight gets so much right that it's hard to pinpoint flaws. It's received criticism for portrayal of several characters, providing ammunition for the inevitable Oscar backlash; perhaps it glorifies the reporters at the expense of victims. Nonetheless, it's broadly accurate, timely and engaging. Despite the grim subject, it's strangely uplifting to have our faith in media restored.  8.5/10 (
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 09, 2016, 01:10:27 PM
I saw Spotlight a couple of nights ago for the second time; I give it a 7.5/10.

too much previous discussion to cut and paste all. I'll just provide some links.

Some discussions in the Oscars thread

we also discussed it a little tiny bit in the thread for The Revenant

and here is a little discussion in the RTLMYS thread
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: Groggy on March 10, 2016, 09:05:02 AM
I wonder if this was the article you and Noodles were discussing on The Revenant thread? The AV Club featured it a few days back. (
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 10, 2016, 04:34:40 PM
I wonder if this was the article you and Noodles were discussing on The Revenant thread? The AV Club featured it a few days back. (


I saw it in graph version, i can try to write up an explanation of the exact process when i have some free time, if this article is not enough to explain
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: Dust Devil on November 14, 2017, 12:44:53 PM
I think I would go for a 7/10: it is not bad, it is not boring, the theme is recent, the setting is interesting, the plot (don't know how strictly it follows the real chronology) isn't bad, the acting is good... but it's not great. Somehow it lacks all those little turns and twists and the ingeniosity to present them without bashing the big drums. In short - it seems to lack a soul, although it flirts with it in on a couple of occasions when exploring the 'scene' of the jolly old green-'n'-crossy city of Boston.
Title: Re: Spotlight (2015)
Post by: noodles_leone on November 15, 2017, 04:15:30 PM