First Hit: Excellent writing, outstanding acting, powerful scenes, and a story that turned out to be spot-on.
This is a story about how Catholic Priests took advantage of young boys (and girls) by molesting them and getting away with it for years.
It begins with the Boston Globe getting a new Chief Editor named Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) and while doing his due diligence of current staff, discovers that the Globe has a small group of reporters called “Spotlight”. This team digs deep to uncover meaningful stories that make a difference to Boston and beyond.
An old article comes across his desk about priest abuse and he asks Walter “Robby” Robertson (Michael Keaton), head of the Spotlight team, if this is the kind of story they work on. The team of Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) are asked to take a deeper look. As they begin to dig, the level of cover up by Cardinal Law (Len Cariou) and his crew of Bishops and Priests becomes grossly apparent.
Many people are involved with the cover up including the creation of a cottage business where lawyers and their law firms defending the church reap high fees while the abused is paid next to nothing and told to keep quiet. There were many heart breaking interviews with the abused including Eric Macleish (Billy Crudup) who, with needle marks in his arm, tells how this has affected his life and his family.
The script was sharp, always on point, and reflected a caring towards giving the audience a clear understanding of the problem. This film never lagged and reflected the urgency required to make a difference.
Ruffalo was superb. His ability to be smart, urgent and both careful and reckless and the same time was perfect. Schreiber was excellent as the steady hand looking to make the paper relevant again and seeing that this story was worthy of the effort being put in by his staff. Keaton was amazing as the leader of Spotlight, knowing when to reign in or let his staff loose. The confrontation with Ruffalo was respectfully wonderful and intense. McAdams was strong and especially good in her interviews with the abused. Her empathy and ability to obtain information was excellent. James was wonderful. I loved his caring about the home near his house and how he wanted to ensure everyone knew about the danger lurking inside for young kids. Crudup was so strong in his portrayal of an abused man that I felt his pain while he spoke. Cariou was very good as the Cardinal who tried to come across as Teflon. One of the most outstanding parts is by Stanley Tucci as an independent attorney working for the abused. His role was amazingly great because of him. McCarthy and Josh Singer wrote a remarkably strong pointed script. There was no fat, just great dialogue. McCarthy directed this film with a purpose, to tell a difficult story with clarity of purpose.
Overall: I was fully engaged and entrenched in this story in every way.