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If investigative journalism films are a valid sub genre, than this is one of its best examples.
Reporters at The Boston Globe newspaper in 2002 yank into the glare of the public eye the systematic cover-up by the Boston diocese of the child molestation practices of over 70 priests, who went unpunished and unremoved from parish work and instead were shuffled around to unsuspecting parishes to find new prey. (This film really should be renamed “All the Cardinal’s Men” which would work in soooo many ways.) A solid ensemble cast features Stanley Tucci, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schrieber, Michael Keaton (what a great second act he’s having!), and Mark Ruffalo.
What I loved best about this film is that it was so cleanly written – no distracting sub plots, no out of place romance, no ludicrous dramatic devices like a Deep Throat informer (sorry, I just couldn’t resist) – just a narrative that builds steadily in one relentless direction. Spotlight portrays the mind-numbing labour in reality of combing through grinding details to get a news story without once being boring. Now that’s great screenwriting and great direction.