spotlight
 
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Spotlight

While Tom McCarthy’s beautifully crafted film about the Boston Globe investigation of the sex abuse in the Church is very much of a time and place, it also couldn’t be more important now.

These are very hard times for hard journalism. Investigative teams are rarely money making endeavors. And it seems very easy for those on the hot seat to tweet a whine that echoes amongst the choir: the media is to blame, not me. So why have the press at all? Because, as we see in this almost procedural and very compelling drama, we need it.

For decades, we are told, both the Catholic Church and the law seemed to be covering up for priests who were found to be abusing their congregants. Often, children were the victims, especially young boys and girls from broken homes, homes in which the Church played an indisputable role. Yes, there were some whistle blowers, people who fed a few items to the Globe, but nobody took the reigns, tried to shake out the extent of the problem, until a Jewish editor came to town and saw what he thought might be an important story.

In its salute to good, old fashioned journalism, Spotlight has its roots in pieces like All the President’s Men which inspired a generation. Here, there’s a team on the case: a tenacious group that spends a year or so of gumshoe digging before finally printing their stunning findings which not only won them a Pulitzer, but, more importantly, led to the serious investigation of abuse and cover-up that continues, world wide, today. It’s not overplayed but the message is undeniable: somebody had to fund all of this, somebody had to have the guts to shake things up in order to shine a light on the truth.

Every performance here is tops (best ensemble, anybody?), outstanding though are a marvelously subdued Michael Keaton and a phenomenal Liev Schreiber, an enigmatic hero. Kudos, too, to McCarthy, who keeps the dramatic ball rolling smoothly, with knowing shots of churches looming over it all.

 

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