Movie #56 2020: Spotlight (2015)

Strange fact: I was not even aware of this movie until it came to Netflix, despite it winning the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2015. That’s right, it won the top award and I’d never even heard of it.

Honestly, Mad Max: Fury Road should have won. But this is still a worthy winner.

Many would make the argument that it only won over Mad Max because it’s more of an ”Oscars” movie, and they’d probably be right. But I have to put this out there too: it is still very, very good.

Focusing on the child sex abuse scandal which was uncovered by the Boston Globe, Spotlight is an extremely important movie. Unfortunately, the only people who will watch it are those who already know and have accepted that it happened. Those in denial – namely devout Roman Catholics who can’t bear to think that their holiest priests would be involved in such heinous misdemeanours – will continue to label this movie as ”liberal snowflake fake news”. However, it is still a very important movie in that this is a story that must be told.

Thankfully, Tom McCarthy handles the subject matter with grace and truth. There is very little in the way of over-exaggeration, and few fabrications within it. Strangely, this is a film that sometimes feels more like a TV show. I can’t figure out exactly why this is, but it could come down to its linear nature – something that few modern movies choose to do currently. What I mean by that is, there are no disruptions to the timeline, there are no flashbacks or ”dream” sequences… This, I would assume, is to make sure that it seems as realistic as possible, and so that the viewer understands the horrendous truth behind the message it shows us.

Performances across the board are very good. Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and Stanley Tucci particularly stand out. However, the best performances here come from the lesser known actors in minor roles. These actors play the men who recount the trauma they faced as children, and despite the main ensemble being a bunch of all-out movie stars, these are the unsung heroes of this movie, and their performances pack an almighty punch.

The first half of this movie isn’t the most thrilling of watches, I’ll admit. But around half way through, it begins to build momentum, making the pay off well worth the wait. I definitely enjoyed this film far more than I expected to.

Man, Santa’s naughty list was really long that year, huh?

Spotlight is available to stream on Netflix UK.

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