By Adam Ray Palmer
Today's review is Spotlight from the second day of Venezia72. This movie is the re-telling of a hauntingly true story from The Globe's press team in Boston, USA.
Spotlight is out of competition here in Venezia72 but I think going forward, this will receive some gongs and maybe even the big one in February...
This film will more than likely split opinions and perhaps cause unrest among the catholic faith. However, it is an important film and it documents the events extremely well.
Let's get straight into it...
Spotlight is the true story about how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Tom McCarthy releases Spotlight following the below-par production of 'The Cobbler'. His latest offering could not differ anymore. The impressive filmmaking in this movie comes from the slow-building scenes which really helps rally the intrigue of what way this narrative will swing.
One of the most enjoyable parts of this film is the way McCarthy uses the cast to portray the journalistic measures that need to be carried out from research all the way to the press release day. The process is key because as we follow Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams and Brian d'Arcy James on their journey to discover the horrors; we also learn how everything works. I had a fear with a film like this that viewers won’t connect with what is the narrative and how things are processed - McCarthy's direction makes it clear which is a true testament to his storytelling.
A film about controversial yet true events will always come with backlash. As 'Philomena' found out in 2013, the church does not like 'promotion' of this kind. Nonetheless, everything is documented correctly but no doubt this film will be banned in certain areas. One thing to be noted, this film is told through The Globe's eyes and ears so I imagine that will be circulated.
Spotlight is one of those films you want to watch on a Sunday afternoon. It's a thinking film that makes you question a lot of things. Religion, life and law are the three factors that will be debated in your thoughts. Watch it on a Sunday and I guarantee you will be telling all your colleagues at work/school the next week.
Spotlight is very subtle in its approach. There is no over-acting, no spit-throwing arguments and no cutaways to sensationalised imagery of what events took place. None of that is needed - the actors deliver the dialogue and emotion perfectly as you feel haunted and sympathy for the victims. At times you have pent up rage as you hear about the pain, the cover ups and so forth. You question how this can happen in this day and age.
The acting on display in Spotlight is exactly how I imagined it. Michael Keaton is the wiser, senior editor who guides his team. Rachel McAdams is a more gentle character who listen's to the victims as they tell their stories. She nails her role as an understated figure that is pivotal to the movie. She is the one we connect with. Mark Ruffalo is the animalistic character who can loses his head at times, which many of us would in reality. I believe he is an actor at the top of his game. Year after year he reinvents himself in many different roles and pulls them off - Spotlight is no exception. Finally, Liev Schreiber and Stanley Tucci give us elegant performances showcasing their talent with a subtle method of distancing themselves and that tells us so much. They are both quiet and reserved characters that know the scale of the scandal. This speaks volumes to how controversial this film could become.
As the final half an hour approaches, you know the press team are about to break through. The scenes build quicker and before you know it the story goes live. This is where the film leaves us with our final thoughts and feelings. I left the theatre with a mixture of emotions. I was angry, disappointed, shocked and also pleased. I was pleased because now this story will be publicised. The last scene when the phones are ringing of the hook because more victims are coming through - this is one major reason why the case happened and this is why I'm pleased that the film is being released.
Cineroom’s Rating: 5 stars
Spotlight is released on 29th January 2016 – certificate 15