This week, we finally got round to seeing this year’s Oscar-winning film for best picture, Spotlight.
The film inspired by true events and is incredibly written by writer/director Tom McCarthy, the same writer/director of Adam Sandler film The Cobbler, A film more associated with the Golden Raspberries than the Academy awards!!
The film concerns the serious and shocking news that it has been reported that priests have been sexually assaulting young children and the church have been covering it up. The conspiracy seems to go higher up, with no one really taking the victims stories seriously.
The Boston Globe were given the story but never ran with it, until some years later when new editor Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) picks up the story and puts the paper#s investigative team, Spotlight, onto the story to see if it will go anywhere.
The spotlight team consists of Robby (Michael Keaton); Michael (Mark Ruffalo); Sacha (Rachel McAdams) and Matt (Brian D’Arcy James) who dig into the story and find that not only is the story true, but it is on a much larger scale than they can imagine.
What follows is a 22-hourinvestigation of the team building a case, creating evidence, finding paperwork, constructing interviews and talking to victims, who tell their horrifying stories on how they were preyed upon, as they were led to believe that anything they are told to do, is ‘God’s will’
We do learn that many of the people of Boston are brought up as strong catholic church goers and this maybe why victims are never given the credibility they deserve. Most putting the story down to Marty being new to town and a Jew, that this is coming out again!
We also meet 2 attorneys, Mitchell (Stanley Tucci) who represents 86 plaintiffs In a case against a priest and Eric (Billy Crudup) who has got remuneration for many of the victims outside court.
We are taking on the journey as Spotlight uncover more and more shocking truths, and tough decisions they have to make, like holding back the story until they have as much evidence as possible.
Because this is based on true events, the film is much more powerful than had it been fiction and this is one of its strengths. We see how the case is affected by Political, Legal and even the Journalistic institutions over what is right and wrong and what can and can not be said.
The cast are all top notch in this film, Ruffalo is the stand out as Michael, and very worthy of his nomination for best supporting actor, as he deals with his horror of the case, whilst also dealing with, what he calls, a temporary separation from his partner.
But all the others have their story as well, Matt lives near the home of a priest they are actively investigation and has to deal with that; Sacha has to live knowing the story could upset her strict catholic grandmother she lives with and Robby has to live with being the one who didn’t follow the story up many years ago.
This is a great film for showing the hard work journalist put in, which maybe now is forgotten, in line of phone hacking scandals and the like.
However, that really is all the film really does show, albeit incredibly well. We have no big court scenes for which the Church are held accountable, there are certainly no priests screaming ‘You Can’t Handle the Truth’ in a Jack Nicholson, ‘A Few Good Men’ way.
The film is a powerful statement about finding the truth and giving victims acceptance that what happened to them was wrong but we feel this may have swayed the voters as whilst this is a important story to tell we feel that other films for the 2016 best picture would have been worthy winners.
Indeed we were even more moved by Room and Brooklyn, and if it was to go down on which of the 2016 nominees we owned then our best picture would go to Mad Max: Fury Road.
Have you seen Spotlight? Did you think it was worthy of its Best Picture win? What was your best picture from the list? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films.
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