Last Friday night my husband and I went to see “Spotlight”.
As a lapsed catholic I have a very complicated relationship with the Catholic Church. In many ways I like the symbolism and the traditions of the church. I still cross myself when I enter a church and I do often feel connected to something when I visit a Catholic Church, especially a grand European Church
(check out my blog entry on the day I visited the Cathedral in Barcelona earlier this year: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/return-to-espana-day-4-barri-gotic/).
I also believe that at its best the Catholic Church does encourage people to help the less fortunate. However, you can’t get around the dark side of the church. Even if you ignore it’s awful history in Europe, Asia and the Americas you still have to deal with more recent problems. As a gay man I can’t deny that the church has been awful when it comes to marriage equality. As much heat as the Mormons have gotten over how they have tried to stop marriage equality the Catholic Church, specifically the Knights of Columbus, have been just as bad if not worse. Then there, of course, is the horrid pattern of priests molesting young children (often but not always boys) and the church’s mission to cover it up. I mention all of this because “Spotlight” obviously focuses on the team of reporters who first unearthed the molestation scandal in the early 2000’s in Boston. Like many of the characters in the movie I understand not wanting to believe the worst about the religion you were raised. But at the end of the day you have too.
“Spotlight” is a call back to investigative movies from the past like “All the President’s Men” and “Absence of Malice”. It is not a fast paced story but it is an incredibly interesting one. As the team of four reporters lead by Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) begins to pull at the string of the sweater of this scandal we see that there is more and more and more.
What I liked about the movie is that it doesn’t let anybody off the hook. How many times do people look the other way? How many times are people in positons of authority given the benefit of the doubt? These are questions that “Spotlight” asks. They aren’t easy questions to answer but they are questions that need to be asked if we as a human race are going to continue to evolve.
The performances are all fantastic. It is utterly amazing to think that after his career disappearing into oblivion Michael Keaton is probably on the verge of scoring back to back Oscar nominations after last years “Birdman: or the unexpected virtue of Ignorance” (check out my review last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/birdman-or-the-unexpected-virtue-of-ignorance/).
I’m really happy for him and his back from the dead career. But the supporting male performance I enjoyed even more from Mark Ruffalo, who also is looking to score back to back Oscar nominations (and his third in total) after last years “Foxcatcher” (check out my review of that film: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/foxcatcher/).
Ruffalo’s role is a littler flasher, he gets a great Oscar clip type speech and he knocks it out of the park.
I think the film was a fantastic career choice for Rachael McAdams. As she approaches 40 she needs to continue to make well-made drama’s like this and this last summer’s “Southpaw” (check out my review of that film: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/southpaw/) and abandon the Nicolas Parks sap fests. There number of other strong supporting performances from people like Liev Schreiber, John Slattery and Stanley Tucci.
I think “Spotlight” will be around through the Oscars but I highly encourage anybody who likes good movie making with good acting to check this film out as soon as they can.
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