Film review: SPOTLIGHT (15)

Spotlight.
Spotlight.

SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW.

CAST: MARK RUFFALO, MICHAEL KEATON, RACHEL McADAMS, LIEV SCHREIBER, JOHN SLATTERY, STANLEY TUCCI, BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES, JAMEY SHERIDAN & BILLY CRUDUP

RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 8 MINS

DIRECTOR: TOM McCARTHY

You could be excused for getting tired of the words ‘Oscar’ and ‘nominee’ being overused in recent weeks – but it’s so hard to avoid them when it has been such a memorable start to 2016.

Spotlight joins the likes of The Revenant, The Big Short, Room, Creed and The Hateful Eight as another tremendous film that is probably now the favourite to pick up the Best Film Oscar (there we go again) in one of the tightest races in years – neck-and-neck with the first two films mentioned above.

And this based-on-true-events drama definitely deserves the spotlight thrown on it – as it’s probably just about the best of a very impressive bunch.

Academy Award nominees (. . . and again) Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams star in this captivating true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the Boston Catholic Archdiocese – with their year-long investigations shaking the American city’s entire religious, legal and governmental establishments to the core.

Set in 2001-02, Mike Rezendes (Hulk star Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) are three top reporters on the ‘Spotlight’ team – an investigative journalistic collective led by Michael Keaton’s Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson – who are moved out of their comfort zone by recently-hired news editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) to get the harrowing truth by ‘digging up dirt’ – which turns out to be the pre-cursor to the scandal that has hit the Catholic church worldwide over the past decade.

Through terrific performances from a great ensemble cast – which includes Stanley Tucci and Mad Men’s John Slattery – it’s no wonder the group notched the top award at the Screen Actors Guild ceremony last weekend.

Particularly Ruffalo – who will undoubtedly run Sylvester Stallone (Creed) close for the Best Supporting actor gong – joins both Keaton and McAdams for stand-out acclaim, as their performances help an exceptional screenplay unfold in a truly compelling, and a sometimes quite astonishingly shocking, fashion.

And pound-for-pound – when you add up the sum of its parts – it may just steal the limelight come February 28.

The Best Picture race is heating up to be as close as Forrest Gump v Pulp Fiction v The Shawshank Redemption from 1995.


Rating: 5/5 Gavin Miller

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