The Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal of the early millennium shocked even far fallen Catholics like me. I remember the skeeves I got when I heard that one of the priests from my old parish was “involved”– and some of his accusers purpordedly were former classmates of mine. And it all came to light while we were still reeling from 9/11. O tempora o mores!
Sticking to a period of about eight months with a methodical, deliberate pace that slowly bubbles to a boil, Spotlight tells all the twists, turns, obstacles, and setbacks The Boston Globe’s special investigations team faced in exposing the systemic coverup within the Boston Diocese, executed by Cardinal Law (Len Cariou). No one believed it at first– not even The Globe, which as we learn had information years before. Spotlight grabs you from the get-go and locks you in, letting bits and pieces of evidence mount. The setup is what you’d expect from a film about investigative reporting.
Spotlight is an actors’ movie: drab, colorless sets and straightforward camera work let the ensemble cast work the drama. So, what about the actors? Not a single bad performance here. Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiver, Mark Ruffalo, and Stanley Tucci particularly shine. It’s nice to see Billy Cudrup again. Jimmy LeBlanc (Patrick) is a small but wrenching role, and I swore he was a brother of Chris Evans (he’s not). Rachel McAdams and Brian d’arcy James both work their roles, but their characters are superfluous. John Slattery is amusing, as usual; but his character is essentially Roger Sterling from Mad Men. Minor flaws aside, I see some definite Oscar potential here.
Side note: this was my first visit to the brand new ArcLight Cinema at New City. Not bad, though I need to see another film there to decide whether I like it.