If you read my review of ‘The Revenant’, you might remember me mentioning that a movie has to do one or two things. Entertain and/or educate me. The aforementioned film did neither, as I found it boring, and didn’t learn anything in the process.
‘Spotlight’ was probably the most constructive films I’ve seen in awhile. On paper, this entire subject could have been made into a documentary, but instead, this movie tells a fascinating story within the journalism industry. It’s a movie that’s equally about journalism as it is about the scandal itself. You not only learn about the subject at hand, but you learn a thing or two about the ways journalism can work to bring light on a subject, and how a single story can impact the world.
I felt engaged all throughout ‘Spotlight’, and the terrific acting really helped. Everyone apart of this ensemble cast did an excellent job, and even the supporting characters that were being interviewed felt like real victims.
Even though I knew some minor details about this scandal, I was consistently feeling shock as the movie went along, all down to when the screen went black. And even with that said, everything about this movie is handled very subtly. The scandal itself is bad enough, and the filmmakers knew that the audience would want justice just as much as the main characters. We’re given just enough detail in small grains, all throughout the film. I felt gradually more and more disgusted by this scandal with every new fact that I learned alongside the characters. Everything builds masterfully, and I loved how realistic and subdued the main characters kept, knowing that they had to wait until they had every last piece together before they could let the story go public.
My favorite scene was when Mark Ruffalo’s character, escaped from being so restrained, and just let loose verbally, expressing how badly he just wanted the story to finally get out there. It happened right at the time where I felt like I would have started to freak out if I was apart of this Spotlight team.
It’s a film that educates you. You don’t watch a movie like this for a “good time”. But you will feel something after learning about all of this. As the movie ended, a long list of names appear, pertaining to those that were involved in the case. My theater was dead silent, and I felt my heart swell up. ‘Spotlight’ brings light on a particular subject, and does a terrific job of hitting you emotionally.
The performances, script, and direction is so good that the movie actually does feel almost like a documentary. One small detail that I actually noticed in the look of everything was that the film stayed very true to the time-frame it was based on. The office was filled with early 2000’s computers, and there were billboards/ads that I spotted that I haven’t seen in over a decade. I understand that it’s the filmmakers’ job to get those kinds of details right. But for a story that didn’t actually take place that long ago, I’d imagine it would be very easy to get lazy in that area. It seemed like they went out of their way to show certain things. I didn’t feel as if I needed to be told this was set in 2001/2002, because the movie actually looked and felt like I was watching something from that exact year. It’s minor, but it really stuck out and improved the feel of the movie for me. It felt like an actual period piece, which is weird considering the fact that 15 years isn’t a crazy amount of time.
‘Spotlight’ is insightful and emotional, and I think it deserves to be seen by everyone. Check it out as soon as you get the chance. But don’t watch it if you’re having like the “best day ever” either. Because it might totally ruin your mood.