Spotlight Movie Review
Breaking news: for decades, the Catholic Church covered up rampant child molestation claims against its clergy. I know you couldn’t possibly know that, but it’s true. And now there’s Spotlight, a drama that depicts the investigation by journalists at the Boston Globe that ultimately led to global focus on the issue.
Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams star in the film, easily one of the better movies of 2015. While the revelations may feel a little old at this point, Spotlight heralds back to classic investigative films that come far too few these days.
The film’s style is refreshingly simple, director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer discarding any substantial backstory for their main characters in favor of showcasing the work that went into the investigation. Dramas these days tend to dwell so much on peeling away the layers of their protagonists that story can be overlooked; Spotlight goes the opposite direction. The result is a fast-paced, informative and entertaining experience.
As good as it is, Spotlight falls short of explosive. Ruffalo, Keaton and McAdams all do a great job, but all three have been better in other pictures. Its biggest issue may be that the subject matter is so commonly known these days that, as disturbing as the cover-up was, there is nothing particularly profound or shocking revealed here. There is no aha moment.
Spotlight is an engaging drama that deserves to be seen, and yet as good as it is, it falls just short of greatness.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.