Already showered in award nominations and wins, Tom McCarthy's powerhouse Spotlight is both an ode to the journalism of the past and a commentary on the present.
Against a backdrop of change, when a new editor Marty Baron (a relatively muted but engaging Liev Schreiber) enters the world of the Boston Globe newspaper, a small journalistic unit called the Spotlight team is given the job of investigating allegations of abuse from Catholic priests. But the further the team looks, the bigger the problem appears to be...
Meshing both procedural and montages of journalists at work, Spotlight is not a new story in many ways and both its subject material and execution are nothing new either - but it's gripping and masterfully acted by all involved, proving once and for all that a combination of perfectly paced story-telling and a gentle crafting of story are the keys to build any foundation on.
It's hard to single out any member of the ensemble for praise in this because they all deliver in many different textured ways; from Schreiber's quietly driven editor brought in to bring change and whose impetus propels the Spotlight team along to Tucci's nigh on impressive lawyer, this is a cast that are on the top of their game.
It helps largely that McCarthy's working off such a strong script, one that never stoops to preach its sins of the fathers storyline but one which also never sermonizes and talks down to its audience as well. It's a good solid film of good solid performances where less is more and where montages take the strain of a lot of the transitions.Dashed through with moments of wry humour, the film does little to build its reporters and their backgrounds, but proffers tantalising hints of their lives outside the investigation. For some, that may be a mis-step but this film is more about the investigation and the politics thereof than the histrionics of personal lives and melodrama.
Spotlight works as it keeps a singular focus on story and narrative; it never deviates from that and becomes a film that quietly and mightily impresses from beginning to end.