Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

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When most of the mass media now tend to give "marinades" sensation in almost every story, this movie will remind us that at one time, reporters do not just chase headlines to attract readers. Instead they did what they were supposed to do which is to uncover the truth and expose it to recognize by many people.

Actually, when seen from the bottom of the story "Spotlight" is a simple packaging, but the slick execution of director Tom McCarthy makes this movie into a first-class drama. "Spotlight" is a kind of procedural drama that always we look forward to its presence every year, because the number of those who managed to reach the top-class level counted fairly rare.

Director Tom McCarthy presents it in a way that is far from sensational. There is no disclosure or excessive exploitative sequence that displays the harassment. Instead, we are presented with a systematic interpretation of journalistic procedures. We will witness the characters gather information and instructions, open the old archives, or interview the victims and the persons who involved. McCarthy who wrote the script with Josh Singer does not focus on the headlines, instead he highlight the perspective of the preaching. Our main character is just the Spotlight team and their mission, which is to reveal a scandal, so there's no useless subplot.

Spotlight Official Trailer

Video Source: Youtube

Directed by
Written by

Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
Tom McCarthy
Tom McCarthy
Josh Singer
Masanobu Takayanagi
Open Road Films
November 6, 2015 (US)
129 minutes

As biographical, crime, and procedural drama, the main story of "Spotlight" is the disclosure of the scandal of child sexual abuse by numerous Roman Catholic priests in Boston. This movie is based on actual story of The Boston Globe's coverage which was so influential. Not only was awarded with the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the news also makes the Boston's prelate at the time, Cardinal Bernard Law, resigned.


About Movie

In the summer of 2001, when he took over The Boston Globe's editorial, the first thing done by Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) is questioning the abuse scandal at a Catholic Church in Boston. A case that has been appointed by The Boston Globe, but not followed up. The investigative journalist unit were born named Spotlight Team. A team of editors and journalists consist of Walter V. Robinson (Michael Keaton)Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo)Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matty Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James). Spotlight Team trying to see, explore, and disclose information on the allegations the harassment. At first, the alleged number of suspects only ranged from 4 to 9 people, however after digging deeper it turns out these numbers ballooned to over 100 pastors. Worse, after visiting and talking with officials including Cardinal Law Boston, Baron suspected that there is a systematic effort of the Church to cover up the scandal by mutating pastor who get caught and shut the mouths of the victims.

The Spotlight Team

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  We Gonna Tell The Story, We Gonna Tell It Right

When "Spotlight" started, everything in this movie seems simple, however Thomas McCarthy able to makes them grow into a gorgeous complexity. It was a special achievement because the main topic of "Spotlight" is actually very sensitive, but everything built without leaving the impression of "war" that will interfere. Indeed there is a war in the story, where journalists continue to conduct an investigation with several explosions, however the way Thomas McCarthy plays of the "water and fire" in this movie makes the story not only easy to steal the attention of the audience but also makes the audience loved them. Even if you are a religious, which incidentally will be closer to the uncomfortable area considering the issues raised in this movie.

The audience will be taken seeing the lives of journalists who were collecting data for their long-term coverage. Each member has a separate task: Rezendes responsible to collect data from a lawyer who represented the victims, Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci); Pfeiffer went to the field to track and conduct direct interview with the victims; while Carroll opened the old archives of The Boston Globe. The mechanism is similar from time to time - interviews, phone calls, open records and check the documents. However those never seem repetitive due to the way McCarthy opened one by one layer of the story slowly in a controlled rhythm.

Spotlight Team -  The Investigate Journalist Unit

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The intensity of the film is not showing the struggle between right against wrong, but how to uncover the truth with all the obstacles in the world of journalism. Starting from pressure from people in higher position, the complicated bureaucracy or the presence of a paramount news - where they got sidetracked with cases of terrorism on November, 11. Maybe things above sound complicated, but believe me, the film is easily to follow.

"Spotlight" successfully established the issue of sexual harassment that was elected as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003, became a cunning investigative process yet "polite". Like the name of the team, the case highlighted directly to the focal point, directly into the spotlight. Spotlight team enter through the broad scope of an issue and led to a focus point and then stay there, stay there, and stay there.

Image Source: Youtube

One key to the success of McCarthy in the film is the focus that never strayed everywhere. With so many characters - which is a bit confusing in the early half of the story, considering the number of milling name, McCarthy is not keen to insert a subplot or the personal side of his character, except a little background to give us a perspective on how they see this case. There are no characters that are too prominent, everything running in one unit. This is quite interesting because this movie actually has the potential to perform a little melodrama, but it does not exist here. Subplot that offered are not explored in excess and there is no out of line mystery. Since the beginning we were in the middle of the problem and from there the audience is welcome to tinker with their own perspective.

"Spotlight" shines because it knew what to say, it knows how to deliver, but it comes with a respectful attitude in execution without compromising freedom of expression. The journalism's effort which is trying to find and bring injustice to the limelight were sharp but not exploitative or brash. That's because "Spotlight" brilliantly in conveying the story points. Tom McCarthy is not just throwing information that this is wrong and this is true and then finished, but he played the perspective of the story cleverly so that raises a debate when the team tried to illustrate the fact that they had discovered.

One of My Favorite Scene - Rendenzes and Robby

Video Source: Youtube

Another factor behind the success of "Spotlight" to become an "awesome chaos" is the performance of the cast. There are five members and all of them able the grasp the story. The one who take most attention is Mark Ruffalo. Not because he played the most vocal character but he gives peace which was followed by an impressive explosion. I also like McAdams, especially on her sweet expression in describing sympathy. Similarly, Keaton often appeared as "wood for the fireplace", while the appearance of Schreiber and Slattery were restrained without making the audience forget them. What is interesting in this section is Stanley Tucci who always stealing the screen when he appears. Their teamwork and chemistry are another key success of this film, because of the tension comes from the obstacles that must be destroyed by the team to obtain the truth.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Investigative Reporters

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This movie was remarkable because it played quickly, accurately, and tight. This movie became important not only because it raises issues that are crucial in his time, but also see how the director covered the tragedy of the journalists in a professional and consistent way. The focus on the process without exploitation, containing the impression of a closed but had a surprise, information on the topic of weight not only for you to know but also felt. No wonder when finished watching it there feeling refreshed because "Spotlight"succeeded provoking in the "polite way", leaving you with a powerful lesson, cooperation and unyielding. Not only that, it's about commitment. Commitments in your efforts, commitment to become a better person and commitment to make a better environment. And it's all displayed in a "mess" that devious yet polite. So far "Spotlight" is one of my10 out of 10 movie in 2015.

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