• Review: Spotlight (2015)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sat Apr 30 10:20:13 2016
    SPOTLIGHT (2015)
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    ***1/2 (out of ****)

    Impeccably cast and consummately directed, Tom McCarthy's "Spotlight" well deserves the Best Picture statuette it earned at the 88th Academy Awards
    (and fair's fair: "The Revenant"'s Alejandro Gonzalez Inniaritu won a bunch
    of Oscars the year before so shouldn't feel *too* bad). And speaking of "Birdman," that film's leading man, Michael Keaton, appears in "Spotlight"
    as Boston Globe editor Walter "Robby" Robinson. Robby's crack
    investigative reporting team--dubbed Spotlight--delves into allegations of pedophilia and child abuse among Boston's Catholic clergy leading, as we
    all know by now, to evidence of a decades-long cover-up at the Cardinal-and-possibly-even-higher level. Robby's eager subordinates are
    nicely fleshed out by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James, while higher up the journalistic chain are Robinson's boss, played by John Slattery, and newly-appointed publisher Marty Baron (a bullish Liev
    Schreiber). Also in the mix are a pair of lawyers with very different
    agendas, played by Billy Crudup and Stanley Tucci. The reason all these
    names are named is that this smart and satisfying film, enthralling and unnerving by turns, is a true ensemble piece, with each and every performer turning in a vast and passionate performance (kudos, especially, to
    McAdams, who more than holds her own in the face of all that raging testosterone). But she and her co-stars couldn't have pulled this true, Pulitzer Prize-winning story off without someone as gifted as McCarthy at
    the reins. An actor himself, McCarthy clearly understands the dramatic
    arcs, twists, and emotions of a volatile dramatization such as this and,
    with co-writer Josh Singer, crafts a compelling tale of power, corruption,
    and shattered lives. With the film's critical success securing McCarthy another notable notch in his directorial belt, only one question remains:
    what in God's name happened with "The Cobbler"!?

    David N. Butterworth

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